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Many men would prefer shops in the future to be technology-driven with very little human contact, according to research by Mindtree.
Its report shows that 44% of men in the UK would be happy with a “robotic” shopping experience in the future, whereas only 30% of women say they would be happy with a people-free shopping environment.
Paul Gottsegen, senior vice-president and chief marketing and strategy officer at Mindtree, said: “The retailers who can most successfully navigate the right balance of robotics and other automated store activity will be in the best position to drive more in-store shopping purchase conversion.”
There has been an increase in automated technologies used by retailers to offer a better shopper experience, including robotics in warehouses to select and pack groceries.
With more automation entering the high street, half of shoppers between the ages of 16 and 24 say they are comfortable with the concept of stores run by robots instead of people.
But the older generation is apprehensive about an entirely automated shopping experience, with 78% of over-55s claiming to be fearful of the growing trend of in-store technology.
The research revealed a divide between what older and younger consumers want from their shopping experience. The younger generation prefer in-store staff to know about their online shopping habits, whereas the older generation prefer to keep their in-store and online shopping separate.
But the retail industry is still adapting to the increase in omnichannel shopping, and as customers begin to interact with brands through different channels, they expect a more unified and personalised service.
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Almost one in five consumers between the ages of 16 and 24 want more personalisation across all channels.
Social media is becoming an increasingly important part of the retail experience, according to the research, with 31% of shoppers saying Facebook is the most influential platform as an influencer for purchasing decisions.
Many customers also say their loyalty to a retailer is affected by the brand’s social media presence.
Mindtree advised high-street retailers to find the right balance of human and technological interaction, to use social media to build customer relationships and to use data to build a unified view of a customer’s interaction with brands. This would help to tackle the drop in consumer visits to UK high streets, it said.