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Walker Sands Survey Shows Retail’s Future Consumer

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E-commerce may be strong today, but tomorrow’s consumers desire more seamless, multichannel shopping experiences.

According to the 2016 Walker Sands Future of Retail study, the retail technology space is going through major changes as new solutions like mobile commerce, drones and virtual reality are coming into the picture. Consumer shopping behaviors have also shifted; the study found that more consumers are purchasing items on e-commerce platforms.

Those customers that are shopping online more preferred same-day shipping, expected to receive their first-drone delivered packages by 2018 and were concerned the most about theft and damaged packages.

Thirty-one percent of consumers said they shopped online at least once a week, compared to only 22 percent in 2014. Customers who shopped less than once a month dropped from 38 percent in 2014 to 27 percent in 2016. This increase in online shoppers may be attributed to improved supply chain and logistics operations over the past two years.

Respondents also valued supply chain speed, with free shipping being the top incentive (90 percent) for online shopping. Forty-nine percent of customers also said that they would increase their online shopping if same-day shipping was offered more frequently.

After completing online purchases, a majority of consumers also reported that they are open to new retail technologies—if they deliver their items efficiently and quickly. Forty percent of consumers think drones will be delivering their packages by 2018. Only 31 percent of consumers thought they wouldn’t receive their first drone-delivered package for another five years. More than 75 percent of consumers also said they would use drone delivery if the device could deliver their packages in one hour or less.

For drone delivery, damaged packages (72 percent) and theft (72 percent) remain top concerns among consumers. Although consumers are open to new retail technologies, they are still not completely certain about drone delivery accuracy and other novel methods.

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