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Study: Shoppers Want Digital Tools (Except When They Don’t)

Digital and human engagement remain key factors of consumers’ shopping experiences.

According to a recent study by retail solutions provider Interactions, “What Shoppers Want from Retail Technology,” consumers want a strong technology presence plus human sales associates when they visit stores. For instance, of the 1,000 shoppers polled, 62 percent prefer to be greeted in-store by a real person but only 10 percent want a store associate to be included in their checkout process

“Consumers want both digital and human interfaces today. They desire the integration of technology into their shopping experience, but nothing can truly replace the accessibility of a traditional store associate,” Interactions president Bharat Rupani said. “The key for retailers is to balance human interaction with technology to streamline and compliment the consumers’ overall retail journey.”

While consumers may ask sales associates for help in store, they are also willing to interact with innovative digital tools finding their way into the brick-and-mortar world. Eighty-four percent of the shoppers surveyed expect retailers to use devices to strengthen their purchasing journeys. New technology advancements like targeted notifications and customizable products provide efficiency and personalization.

Ongoing communication from retailers could influence consumer activity, too. Of the 62 percent of consumers that have received mobile notifications from retailers, 57 percent end up spending more money, and 68 percent said notifications led them to make unplanned purchases. Most consumers (70 percent) also prefer to receive retailer notifications while they are at home. Through a constant stream of communication, retailers could foster more purchases and in-store visits.

The future of retail technology is highly exciting for consumers. Advancements like 3-D printing and personalization have made consumers eager to design their own customized items. Ninety-five percent of consumers are excited to buy a product developed through 3-D printing and 79 percent said they would spend more at a retailer that allowed them to create their own 3-D printed products. Consumers also want a balance between human interactions and digital devices. For instance, only a quarter of consumers prefer to rely only on technology to answer their in-store questions.