Tag Archives: consumer

Consumers want ‘real people not robots’ from retailers

IPM Blog

A study launched by Gekko titled ‘Service not Sci-fi’, reveals that UK shoppers would rather deal with real people not robots or artificial intelligence when it comes to shopping.

The study found that 81% of UK shoppers claim the personal touch has disappeared from retail customer service in modern Britain, with almost a third (32 percent) blaming an over reliance on technology for this decline. Half of those polled think that companies in the UK are using technology to save money, rather than improve customer experience.

Despite living in a world driven by technology, most people don’t want technology at the sacrifice of humans’ opinions and experience.  Only 30 percent said they would like to see ‘smart pricing’ initiatives adopted by retailers, where prices change in real time depending on demand, 22 percent smart mirrors that show a 360 view of themselves, 16 percent a virtual reality changing room, 14 percent augmented reality to help visualise products in the home and 9 percent a talking robot assistant.

When it comes to buying online, 43 percent of UK shoppers have had their screen freeze while trying to make a purchase, so when asked what makes a great bricks and mortar shopping experience, 49 percent of those polled said it was down to having good staff on the shop floor, staff that know the products (49 percent) and staff that go the extra mile (47 percent). Coupled with this, 61 percent of the nation would prefer to deal face to face when complaining, 59 percent when enquiring or trying to find out more about a product and 73 percent when getting a refund.
And businesses take heed – a third of Brits say that the personal touch is more likely to make a repeat purchase, and more than a fifth (22 percent) claim they always spend more money in a shop if they are served by a good assistant, incrementally adding to sales. Over a third (34 percent) of shoppers stated that a poor experience has driven them to buy from another retailer.

The research also highlights the impact of the decline of the local shop, with a quarter of Brits saying they miss shopping somewhere where people recognise them, 16 per cent confessing they preferred the days when they could talk through a purchase with a someone in-store, and a quarter saying online shopping is less fun than buying something in a real shop.  The convenience of a store’s location is also stated as important by 43 per cent of respondents which means that as retailers consolidate their estates, many will notice the effects, further emphasising the need to carefully consider the experience being provided in-store and the staff needed to deliver the experience.

According to the research, we waste almost an hour and a half a month – which is 17 hours a year, the equivalent of more than two days at work – interacting with automated technology, only for a human to have to step in and help.

Bug bears include getting someone to rectify a problem with the self-service checkout, and ringing customer services and dealing with a recorded voice, only to repeat the details to the person you end up talking to.

It’s little wonder, then, that 51 percent of Brits have slammed the phone down during an automated call, as the system didn’t recognise what they were saying.  And 47 percent of shoppers have experienced self-service checkout failure that’s had to be rectified by a shop assistant.

In fact, more than three quarters (77 percent) of UK shoppers admit they’d much rather use a checkout with a person on it, rather than taking the self-service option.  More than 4 in ten (43 percent) British shoppers would rather speak to a person than an automated system when making a phone enquiry, with almost a quarter (23 percent) ending up having to complain on social media when their query hasn’t been responded to via the automated service.

Daniel Todaro, MD of Gekko said: “Everyone is talking about technology and innovation within retail, but our research clearly shows that what consumers really want is the human touch.  With traditional retail under more pressure than ever and an astonishing 81% of people feeling that the personal touch has disappeared from shopping, businesses need to focus on the customer experience in these tough trading times to help keep the high street alive.”

To read more visit IPM Bitesize.

To read the full results of our ‘Service not Sci-Fi’ research visit the Gekko Research Page.

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Will Google Glass arrive at retail or is it just a beautiful PR stunt?

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We simply cannot escape talk around Google Glass. It’s as ubiquitous as the Beckham’s and their PR allure. Ever since Google Glass hit the media, I feel like it’s an established and viable product as modelled by the curly-haired model in the original promotional photo, which the media are still using.

But despite years of buzz, the consumer is still no closer to adding the glasses to their ever-expanding tech kit. So is Google Glass just a clever PR stunt that refuses to give up, or are we set to see the product reach the hands of those who matter, the consumer?

Google Glass seems to have been everywhere but the shop shelves. Diane von Furstenberg used the product on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, while Virgin Atlantic has tied up with the brand for flight crew to check in passengers on selected trans-Atlantic flights.

Brands want to build partnerships with this newsworthy, futuristic piece of innovation and why wouldn’t they when Google Glass is experiencing a media frenzy? It’s exposure on a scale any business desires, singling out its brand through association as the future now.

But no one has had more positive brand awareness than Google itself, which is why this could all be a bubble about to burst. There are many barriers the brand has to overcome before it’s ready for public consumption.

It is heavily tested and commented on by the BBC’s Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, who states: “So far, I’m intrigued by the possibilities that Glass offers, but not convinced that the user interface is up to scratch.”

Doubt clouds Glass sceptics as to the viability of the product in the face of increasing privacy rules and pressure on Google to respect these rules. Even in preliminary testing phases, Google Glass has opened a Pandora’s Box of legal concerns. If it does become the next big thing in wearable technology, what are the ramifications for intellectual property and personal privacy when somebody can secretly film or take a picture of you with, literally, the wink of an eye?

It’s now standard practice to see all manner of things documented online by people when using one hand with a mobile phone; what will happen when they are given glasses that make it possible for them to be recorded with two hands? Google responded by making modifications that would make this harder to do, but hackers will be only too happy to quickly find ways around those measures.

A report out highlights the fears consumers have over privacy issues pertaining to the product. It was found that 72 per cent of Americans cited privacy concerns as the biggest reason for not wanting to wear Glass. Those polled were especially concerned about the possibility of hackers accessing personal data and revealing personal information, including location information, Adweek reported.

That’s not to say I don’t applaud Google for this extravagant teaser campaign. It’s been executed extraordinarily well and it has built up a buzz and anticipation that may explode into fireworks or a flame, leaving us wanting more, but when’s the launch date?

If it does indeed arrive into the retail space, I can only imagine it will be a watered down variant of the present. But the fact that Ray-Ban sunglasses maker Luxottica announced last month that it has sealed a strategic partnership with Google over its Glass eyewear surely only adds fuel to the fire of concerns over privacy intrusion.

Imagine sitting on a train opposite someone who appears to be wearing a regular pair of Ray Bans, when really they’re analysing your data – it’s just not acceptable in a democratic society. Or has democracy gone full circle where the insistence on knowing everything has now come to threaten our right to privacy?

Nonetheless, this innovation, in which ever form it manifests itself, will eventually land in a retailer near you (I hope) and it will need investment in dedicated, knowledgeable brand representatives who can create the right consumer engagement with those cost conscious shopper tribes. This must be a priority if they are to make a connection with consumers and help them understand how this innovation works to enhance their day-to-day lives, to leave them with a memorable impression of both the product that will lead to a sale.

Whether Google Glass comes into the retail space or not, one thing is for sure: this has been an unstoppable PR masterpiece.

Read the full article at http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/read/blog-will-google-glass-arrive-at-retail-or-is-it-just-a-beautiful-pr-stunt/033797

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