Smart Retail

More than half of retailers look to utilise Internet of Things in next three years, report claims

A new report released by Boston Retail Partners (BRP) has argued that in order to offer customers a unique personalised shopping experience in every retail channel, stores must blend physical and digital strategies – including the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR).

Customers are interested in trying new technologies if they find improvement in their in-store shopping experience, the report notes. The results provided by the BRP Consumer Study are therefore interesting. It found 32% of consumers are likely to shop at a store offering an AR experience over a retailer that does not offer the service; 29% would like to experience VR as part of their shopping environment.

The report also noted customers were very interested when it comes to relying on technology rather than human interaction if it makes the purchase process easier and fast. For instance, 55% of customers are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout as opposed to a store without, and 57% will go to a store that offers automated returns to speed the process.

The study also found that 19% of the retailers currently have IoT capabilities, whereas 36% are planning to implement the technology within three years’ time.  When it comes to AI, 23% of the retailers use AI at present and an additional 30% are planning within three years.

Earlier this month a study from marketing agency BrandContent, which surveyed more than 2,000 consumers, found that while 28% men are significantly more likely than 13% women to utilise voice search frequently, more than two in three polled had access to either search or a voice-activated assistant. In terms of practical application of the technology, two in five consumers said that they would use it to search local restaurants, and one in five aged 45-54 checked the news or weather with it. One in three (32%) over 65s would use it for traffic planning.