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retail environment

UK consumers lead the charge for more frictionless technology

UK consumers have the greatest expectations about the growth of retail technology to deliver frictionless customer journeys, according to new research.

A global survey from Swedish payment platform Klarna revealed that 8 in 10 consumers in the UK believe that retailers need to continuously invest in new technologies to meet changing customer demands.

According to the study, of the 10 countries surveyed, the UK was the most keen to see retailers investing in technology.

The research also surveyed shoppers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the US. 

The report, which had responses from more than 1,000 UK consumers, also found that nearly half of British consumers think that frictionless payments should be a retailer’s top priority both in store – 48 per cent – and online – 46 per cent.

Forty per cent of millennials in the study said that online retailers need to invest in virtual and augmented reality technology such as virtual stores and dressing rooms.

“UK shoppers are tech savvy and their online shopping preference currently ranks ahead of all the other countries in our report,” said Viveka Söderbäck, consumer trend expert, Klarna. 

“Brits crave digitalisation and expect retailers to invest in new technology that gives them a better shopping experience, especially when it comes to faster checkouts and frictionless payments.”

A further 39 per cent of UK respondents said that retailers should spend money on personalised product recommendations online, while 27 per cent thought that this should be rolled out in physical stores. 

Voice and face recognition technology was less popular among those surveyed, with only 16 per cent of respondents saying that brands should invest in this online, and even less – 12 per cent – said it should be implemented in store.

The findings were supported by another study from product experience company Akeneo which highlighted that over two fifths – 42 per cent – of UK shoppers are interested in using augmented reality (AR) to find product information when shopping.

The study, which surveyed 500 British shoppers, also revealed that nearly a third – 32 per cent – of UK buyers want to be able to use voice commerce tech to find out more about the goods and services they are looking to buy.

A further 37 per cent would be open to using chatbots in the future as part of product discovery.

"The way we shop is rapidly changing and it's essential to understand not only how and where consumers are engaging with your products, but what their expectations are for your brand." said Fred de Gombert, chief executive, Akeneo. 

"The product experience that you design for your various online channels must first be consistent and second be continued through all the points where your consumers will be making their purchases and returns, be they digital or physical.”

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