Are Consumers Ready for Retail Tech?

Many are interested in interactive fitting rooms and voice-activated shopping

More retailers are looking to technology to simplify the shopping process and automate a lot of redundant tasks. But are consumers ready?

According to a global survey of 2,250 internet users conducted by retail management platform provider iVend Retail, in partnership with AYTM Market Research, many already know which technologies they'd like their favorite retail brands to offer in the near future. 

And some of the emerging technologies mentioned can simplify the payment process. Roughly a third of respondents said they would like to make automatic payments using digital shopping carts, and nearly one in five indicated a desire for biometric ID and payment. 

But consumers don't just see technology as a solution for easier transactions. They also see it as an opportunity to liven up the overall shopping experience. For example, 24.9% of those polled said they'd like their favorite retailers to offer interactive fitting rooms, and another 16.7% liked the idea of voice-activated shopping. 

Virtual/augmented reality and interactive signage (19.7%) was a popular choice, as was in-store robots.

But while many respondents indicated an interest in retail technology, not everyone was on board. Roughly 36% said they didn't want to use new technologies when they shop. 

Still, that's not stopping retailers from spending on a range of emerging technologies. According to an October 2017 study from IHL Group and RIS News, retailers plan to spend on a variety of tech in 2018, including location-based marketing, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT).

And earlier this year, at the National Retail Federation (NRF)'s Big Show in New York, technology was a key focus for a large share of retailers. Again, AI, location and analytics were areas of focus for many.