Next Generation In-store Technology Report

CSC ReportCSC have announced the findings of a new survey called “Next Generation In-store Technology: Where do Shoppers and Retailers Stand?” The survey identifies that retailers are using customer analytics to deliver a more personalised experience to in-store shoppers but consumers are divided on how they feel about not being able to opt-in or opt-out of how retailers collect data.

Key findings from the survey

  • 74% of retailers are using all kinds of technology to track consumers in store
    • 31% use big data
    • 27% use facial recognition technology
    • 65% track for security purposes
  • Over one third of consumers surveyed (34%) object to stores collecting personal data whereas 24% believe that it is useful for their shopping experience.
  • 28% of 16 – 24 year olds felt that it was useful and would improve their shopping experience.

Use of real customer data is seen by both consumers and retailers as key to service improvement but there were dissenting voices in the survey about the collection of data. Interestingly, nearly one sixth of respondents (14%) were completely unaware that stores collect any data on them, while 6% admitted to having benefitted from the collection of data stating that it had improved their shopping experience.

Dave Baldwin, industry general manager CSC’s UK retail business for comments: “Having the right technology and infrastructure in place such as big data and customer analytics will help retailers to better understand their clients. However, this data needs to be laser focused as they look to adapt to changing consumer buying habits in this rapidly evolving environment.”

The survey points out that customer analytics are key to retailers providing a more personalised service to shoppers but retailers are often overwhelmed with data. Technology adoption speeds up every time a new technology is introduced, so, where consumers felt comfortable with technology such as touchscreen and interactive devices, had this survey been undertaken five years ago this probably wouldn’t have been the case. It’s therefore highly likely that these types of in-store behaviour technologies will be embraced as consumers become more comfortable with them.

There is a fine line to tread, but those that get it right will reap the benefits. CSC’s experience in retail, and having successfully delivered these types of big data projects for our customers, particularly our Big Data Platform as a Service, is helping many retailers get ahead, quickly and cost effectively.

Overall the results from all consumers surveyed indicated that shoppers were generally comfortable with in-store technology, such as technology that helps consumers decide what to buy (38%), technology that identifies and recommends products in-store (42%), and self-service kiosks (56 %). Shoppers were also very familiar with loyalty cards, self-service checkouts and touchscreen and interactive devices.

However, the survey also finds that consumers perceive some technology as intrusive, particularly in-store technology that tracks consumer behaviour:

  • Nearly three quarters (73%) were either not comfortable at all, or not particularly comfortable with in-store technology that tracks their behaviour.
  • 71% were not comfortable at all or not particularly comfortable with technology that records information such as your gender, age and the time consumers spend in-store.
  • 65% were not comfortable at all or not particularly comfortable with technology that recognises how many times they have been in-store.

That said, nearly half (49%) of the younger respondents (16-24 year olds) clearly felt either quite or very comfortable with many in-store technologies and could see the shopping benefits they offered. Age demographics however did play a part in where the line was drawn and 72% of the 55+ group were decidedly uncomfortable.

The survey was conducted in June 2015 by CSC, a global leader in next generation IT services, and independent research company Opinion Matters. Its goal was to gain a shapshot of where shoppers and retailers alike stand on the use of in-store technology and customer analytics. Those surveyed included 2000 UK consumers (both in-store and online shoppers) and 150 senior IT executives, senior marketing or digital executives from retailers. You can view the full survey online.