Consumers are willing to engage brands using new technology if they feel they are in control of the experience, according to the Oracle Retail 2025 study.
The study proved that consumers are ready to embrace new retail technologies and even give up personal data in order to have retailers make decisions on their behalf. However, brands need to build a foundation of trust if consumers are going to try out 3D printing, virtual reality and more.
"One of the more interesting insights we gleaned from this year’s study was that consumers have very high expectations for retailers to be transparent and deliver real-time data about product origin, components and recalls," Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Retail, told FierceRetail. "The more retailers can fulfill on their brand promise, whether that be by delivering the right product at the right time to the right place, or communicating critical information about product risk, the stronger the bond of trust will be between retailer and consumer."
According to the findings, 64% of respondents like the option of using virtual reality to navigate a personalized, in-store experience and having a hand-picked wardrobe to try on in-store. And 58% of consumers had a positive attitude toward having their grocery store suggest a shopping list for their approval based on purchase history, social and environmental data. However, 54% of respondents said having a grocery store automatically charge and ship items based on shopping history was too invasive.
It seems attitudes toward 3D printing and drones are also warming up. Sixty-seven percent of consumers like the ideal of drones delivering in near real-time. And 64% responded favorable to having a retailer suggest a custom-made accessory made by 3D printing. However, 57% said apparel recommendations from robots based on their social media profile was invasive.
Finally, while consumers are wary of giving up data, they want a personalized relationship with a brand. More than half, 54%, of consumers viewed linking their wearable activity tracker to their pharmacy for product suggestions as favorable. As many as 78% said they favor the option of having detailed product and origin information before making a purchase. And 46% said they would like receiving real-time alerts on current product recalls based on purchase history.
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If retailers want to start introducing these disruptive technologies to their consumers, Webster suggests that they start with a strong foundation across the retail enterprise. That way, the cost and resources associated with implementing cutting-edge technology will be less burdensome. The retail industry must empower associates and consumers to work and shop the way that they live, and that can only be achieved when data is consistent and integrations are seamless.
Webster also notes that while consumers are interested in new technologies, it doesn't mean they will drive or increase shopping frequency.
"Brands need to do more than chase the next hot consumer technology and wrestle with how they can implement new innovations in the context of their brand promise. Retailers should also strongly consider the merchandising, planning and revenue implications of experimenting with new consumer technologies to ensure they have a positive impact on the business," he added.