Procurement · 3 November 2016

Britain’s shoppers hail retail technology as vital to store credibility

shopping mall
Investing in retail technology makes businesses appear more professional, according to shoppers

Investment in retail technology, whether in-store or online, marks the sign of a good shop, according to the majority of Britain’s shoppers.

Three quarters of UK consumers have more faith in a retailer, whether large or small, that uses technology, a survey from payment platform Worldpay has revealed.

Of 2,000 consumers surveyed, a quarter admitted they wouldn’t book a meal at a restaurant if they couldn’t find it online first, while a fifth claimed that having to pay in cash would raise doubts about the quality of product they had just purchased.

Only seven per cent of respondents said retail technology could be a hindrance and get in the way of the type of shopping experience they were looking for.

When asked why they thought technology was so important, the majority of the survey’s respondents explained that investment in retail technology made businesses appear more professional, and like they were taking the consumer experience seriously.

Younger shoppers below the age of 35, and those living in London, were found to be the most judgmental. As many as 80 per cent of respondents in both these groups said they were more likely to trust retailers that use “up to date” technology.

Commenting in the survey’s findings, digital anthropologist Nik Pollinger, who worked with Worlpay as a research partner, said: “If a shop seems unwilling to make that investment [in retail technology], it can trigger a lack of confidence. Where else are they cutting corners? Why aren’t they giving customers what they want?

“It’s now relatively simple and inexpensive for any shop to deploy technologies that make life easier for digitally driven shoppers,” added Pollinger.

Amongst consumers’ biggest bug bears were businesses that refused to accept card payments. Over one in five survey respondents admitted they’d walked away from a transaction because their preferred payment technology wasn’t available.

Another “technology triggers” the research identified were handwritten receipts and businesses that didn’t have a website.

Pollinger went on to say: “Shoppers equate in-store technology with the type of convenience they have become used to with ecommerce.

“These feelings emerge strongly among consumers who have grown up with the convenience of smart phone shopping, but the reality is that our attachment to technology as a way to make our lives easier is universal.”

Small independent retailers are increasingly viewing retail technology investment as the key to survival. According to Worldpay UK managing director, Dave Hobday, small business owners need to embrace the change and “digitally evolve” in order to stay relevant.

To assist in the digital evolution of Britain’s small businesses, Worldpay has recently launched a tablet-based till technology designed to replace traditional cash registers. The My Business Hub platform enables customers to pay for items in various ways in all areas of stores, not just at tills.

Read on for government plans to throw £1.9bn behind cyber security

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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