Consumers demand greater use of retail technology
Highlights of Epson Europe’s ‘State of European Retailing’ whitepaper
Epson Europe’s ‘State of European Retailing’ whitepaper has revealed high levels of consumer demand for greater use of in-store technology to enhance the shopping experience.
Across Europe, 67% of consumers stated their belief that, ‘to succeed retailers needed to use more in-store technology to enhance the customer experience’, with particular focus being placed on improving queuing times, the omni-channel sales experience and the in-store experience. The potential costs of failing to use technology to improve the overall customer experience were proven to be substantial.
Adrian Clark, Director of Business Systems, Epson Europe said: “Support from the right technology infrastructure is fast becoming a standard consumer expectation. Above all, consumers told us that technology investment would not only impact their buying behaviours in the short term, but their ongoing brand perception and brand loyalty in the long term.”
The importance of providing fast payment options
Across Europe, 29% of respondents revealed that they often leave stores without buying anything as a result of long queues at the tills. Additionally, 25% of people said that they often go to a competing store to buy the same item if there is a long queue in the first store. Consumer stated a desire for more efficient self-service payment points with 87% saying they considered them critical or valuable to a brand. 42% of those surveyed said they wanted mobile payment solutions to be available in-store.
The importance of an integrated Omni-channel experience
Almost one in five European consumers reported that they often purchase products online while they are looking at the product physically in a different retailer’s store. This suggests that retailers are potentially losing sales from around 20% of their own footfall to rival brands with better omni-channel retail presence or offers. To confirm the above, when asked 55% of people said that poor integration across the different sales channels is likely to negatively impact brand loyalty.
Consumers expect technology to deliver better service, individual treatment and fun
Epson’s research highlighted that 38% of actual purchasing is now undertaken online in Europe, with 89% of people stating that the primary driver for online shopping was that it was ‘entertaining’. Perhaps in response to this, 64% of surveyed consumers said they believed introducing a virtual shopping experience in-store would drive more retail activity, while 63% believed deploying virtual shopping technology would also drive the return to the store by consumers.
Retailers must offer personalised promotions within three years
Epson’s in-depth research further revealed that 72% of European consumers currently consider personalised offers and incentives from brands to be of importance, with 64% saying that personalised offers increase brand loyalty, and two thirds expect personalisation to become even more important to them over the next three years.
Also, while two thirds of consumers told us they were happy for retailers to record their buying habits in order to tailor specific communications and offers, 67% said they’d like offers to be based on what they tell and express to retailers rather than on past buying habits. Additionally, 72% of consumers felt that in 3 years’ time they will be more proactive in how they communicate and share information with retailers.
Traditional values still garner loyalty
Despite the opportunity afforded by technology and the ability to use it to provide a more tailored retail experience, the research also highlights that retailers must not lose sight of traditional values: for example ‘good product quality’ (79%) and ‘knowledgeable sales staff’ (91%) were reported as the leading two factors most likely to positively influence brand perception and loyalty.
About the Epson “State of European Retailing” survey
The Epson “State of European Retailing” study sought to identify some of the core trends, challenges and technology developments facing the retail world across 5 major European countries, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and The UK. The survey was extensive and covered a wide range of business, technological and commercial issues.
The survey was conducted by Coleman Parks on behalf of Epson Europe. 5,002 consumers took part in the survey, 1,000 in each of UK, France, Germany and Spain and 1,002 in Italy. Consumers of all age groups took part to provide a true perspective from the entire purchasing and technology using population. Some comments are made by age when appropriate.
The survey was also controlled by household income, using standard country specific bands and also region within country to establish any regional contexts for challenges or trends being seen. This also ensured that the sample was representative of the population within each country.
Epson is a global innovation leader dedicated to exceeding expectations with solutions for markets as diverse as the office, home, commerce and industry. Epson’s lineup ranges from inkjet printers, printing systems and 3LCD projectors to industrial robots, smart glasses and sensing systems and is based on original compact, energy-saving, and high-precision technologies.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 72,000 employees in 94 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and the communities in which it operates.
About Epson Europe
Epson Europe B.V., based in Amsterdam, is the Group’s regional headquarters for Europe,
Middle-East, Russia, and Africa. With a workforce of 1,700 employees, Epson Europe’s sales for fiscal year 2013 were 1,517 million Euros. http://www.epson.eu
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