Personalization In The Retail Sector

Personalization In The Retail Sector

Retail Consumers Favor Personalization & Choice When It Comes To The Latest Technology

New research from Klarna shows discrepancy between future priorities for both fashion retailers and consumers

Following fashion weeks all over the world, new research from leading global payments provider Klarna and Censuswide from the U.K. shows that while a majority of fashion retailers want to invest in high tech features such as AR / VR, 4 in 5 shoppers say they wouldn’t be interested in using it.

The research, part one of Klarna’s Global FashTech Research Series, surveyed 2,000 shoppers and 50 decision makers in fashion retail throughout the U.K. The report highlights a clear discrepancy between what shoppers want in the future and what retailers plan to deliver.

According to the research, fashion retailers are investing in the latest tech trends, while they still find the fundamentals a challenge. A fifth of these retailers admit they are struggling to get the basics right when it comes to digitization and 42% are so focused on getting online right that in-store technology is not a priority.

This contradicts what consumers say they want, with almost three quarters [73%] stating they value shopping in-store, as it offers a human experience that can’t be recreated online. In short, retailers shouldn’t be writing off the value that a good in-store experience can bring to their business.

What should the future look like?
Technology that takes measurements, so consumers can be sure items fit before buying [42%], and access to the same level of discounts in-store as they can access online [49%] are top of the wish-list for consumers. In addition, a third [31%] of shoppers want to be able to pay later after they’ve left the store or pay after delivery, without their credit/debit card.

However, despite clear direction from consumers on what the future of “fashtech” should look like, retailers are prioritizing other less functional features. When asked what retailers would like to integrate in the future, online personas & avatars [38%] were top of the list, while shoppers’ top request was better variety of clothes [28%]. In addition, retailers want to create virtual stores to be viewed online [32%], despite that only 10% of consumers said they’d like to see the same.

Howard Saunders, Retail Futurologist and expert commented:
“The advancement of technology is inevitable and it’s clear that customers are undecided about the advantages of some of the latest technology. This research shows that retailers may enthuse and embrace technology as a means of reviving sales, but unless customers can see the benefits personally, it could be a wasted investment. A muted response to technology like drone delivery, smart fabrics, and virtual store assistants shows that removing the personal element from fashion retail could be a mistake. The future is coming at us fast, but it’s worth remembering we’ll still be human when it arrives.”

What do consumers want?
There’s a growing demand for a more personalized shopping experience that combines the feeling and advantages of in-store shopping with the convenience and choice of online. 49% of shoppers said when they shop in-store they miss the personalized offers they receive online, while 46% said they believe online shopping is more convenient than in-store. Retailers must take note that no one channel is the key to success — combining elements of both is key.

Malin Eriksson, Klarna’s U.S. General Manager commented:
“We know that fashion retailers have a good track record for adopting the latest technology, however our latest research shows that some work still needs to be done to ensure retailers are delivering what shoppers actually want. What we can see is that shoppers want the basics to be done better and they don’t want their preferred fashion brands to favor fads over function through the introduction of technology that doesn’t improve their shopping experience.”

Eriksson continued: “This doesn’t mean every retailer needs both an online and offline presence — it means tapping into what consumers want and adapting to that specific channel. For example, 61% of shoppers say they don’t like that shopping online takes longer because they can’t touch or see items before buying. The answer could be offering body scanning technology or offering services such as pay later that allow consumers to try items at home before paying. There’s no one right answer, fashion is an increasingly competitive area and listening to shoppers will be the difference between success and failure.”

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