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Retail PR’s New Frontier: How Technology and Personalization Are Driving the New Retail Experience

Retro robot with shopping cart. Isolated over white. Contains clipping path87 Percent of Millennials and 79 Percent of Gen X Now Click-and-Collect

Consumers of all ages are seeking an integration of technology and shopping—and with the right mobile and digital platforms, retailers can draw customers into their store for experience and purchasing, according to new research from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), which recently released results from its ICSC Retail Technology Survey.

“Consumers are the drivers of demand, and they’ve made it clear they want more technology integrated into their shopping experience,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC, in a news release. “Our study shows that consumers are calling for access to more information in stores. The retailers who innovate in this area, making the experience more efficient and the consumer better informed, will win at the register.”

Access to Information Improves Experience

Consumers are seeking more in-store technology to make accessing information and shopping easier and they believe that technology is poised to do just that. By 2020, consumers stated they want to:

  • Have access to products/sizes available in store without engaging a salesperson (62 percent)
  • Virtually view how home furnishings and how accessories fit in a home before they make a purchase (55 percent)
  • Compile a shopping list on a store app and receive a floor map to locate products (54 percent)

Consumers Clicking and Connecting Through Entire Shopping Journey

Technology’s integration into every facet of our lives shapes the way consumers think about their next purchase. From informing their decisions early in the purchase to checking out of the store, technology vastly improves and eases the experience. Click-and-collect has been the best example of this, where nearly three out of four consumers (73 percent) have bought a product online from a mobile device and picked it up in a store. Other ways consumers use technology to connect while shopping include:

  • 87% of Millennials and 79 percent of Generation X use their mobile device to make a click-and-collect purchase
  • 71% of consumers have one or more retailer apps on their phones and 74 percent of them access these apps at least once a week
    • 86% of Millennials access a retailer app weekly and members of Generation X and the Baby Boomer generation, 74 percent and 61 percent, respectively
  • 37% of consumers have used a digital assistant (i.e., Siri) to build shopping lists or to place orders to later pick up items in stores
  • 35% of consumers have used a mobile pay option

Personalized Shopping a Growing Priority

Personalization remains a key focus for consumers and they seek out retailers who will deliver customized results. Personalized experiences consumers are seeking include:

  • 80% of those who have mall/shopping center apps choose to receive notifications about sales/promotions and/or special events while shopping
  • 44% of respondents want to receive access to apps or screens that make it easy to get information such as ingredients in products for allergies, dietary needs, etc.
  • 43% of consumers are receptive to the idea of retailers personalizing prices based on their shopping patterns and demographics
  • 39% would visit a mall or shopping center more often if they received alerts from stores that are selling products they are interested in purchasing

“Technology creates innumerable opportunities for retailers to better reach—and convert—consumers,” continued McGee. “Collecting data on a shopper’s specific buying habits can create a healthier connection. Through closely understanding the wants and needs of shoppers, retailers can drive more store visits and create a stronger bond.”

The ICSC Retail Technology Survey was conducted online by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of ICSC from February 16-19, 2017. The survey represents a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,022 adults 18 years of age and older.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

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