Shops that shun technology losing consumer confidence, Worldpay research shows

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Shoppers trust retailers more if they can see modern technology being used in store, claims research by payments processor Worldpay in collaboration with digital anthropologist Nik Pollinger.

According to the research, conducted to support the launch of Worldpay’s My Business Hub till system, three quarters (75%) said alarm bells start to ring when a store seems behind the times from a technology point of view. Londoners and the under-35s were the most judgemental. Eighty per cent of respondents in these groups said they’re more likely to trust retailers that use up to date technology than those that do not.

When pushed to qualify their answers, respondents said they thought retailers that had invested in up to date technology came across as more professional, and committed to improving the overall experience for their customers. Among the 2,000 consumers surveyed, only 7% said they had concerns that technology could get in the way of delivering the type of experience they were looking for in-store.

Digital anthropologist, Nik Pollinger, said: “Technology has become such a pervasive influence on our daily lives that our judgement on whether a business is professional, reputable and reliable is increasingly driven by their use of modern technology.

“It’s now relatively simple and inexpensive for any shop to deploy technologies that make life easier for digitally driven shoppers. So if a shop seems unwilling to make that investment, it can trigger a lack of confidence. Where else are they cutting corners? Why aren’t they giving customers what they want?”

Handwritten receipts, cash only payments and the lack of a website were among the main ‘technology  triggers’ which led consumers to think twice about whether or not to part with their money. Forty-one per cent of consumers said retailers they trusted most made it easy to pay by card as well as cash, while 39% said they trusted retailers who offered digital receipts to make returns easier.

Businesses that refuse to take card payments provoked a particularly strong reaction amongst respondents. One in five under-35s said they’d be concerned about the quality of products in stores that only took cash and a further 22% have abandoned purchases when their preferred payment option is not available.

Pollinger added: “Modern shoppers equate in-store technology with the type of convenience they have become used to with ecommerce and that’s especially true when it comes to payments. We’ve seen these feelings emerge strongly among Gen Z consumers, many of whom have grown up with the convenience of smart-phone shopping. But the reality is that our attachment to technology as a way to make our lives easier, is far more universal. It’s no coincidence that 40% of over 55s say they actively seek out shops that accept cards.”

Applying Pollinger’s theories on how technology impacts consumer confidence to a variety of real-life retail situations, the study revealed:

  • A quarter of under-35s would not consider dining in a restaurant that didn’t have a website
  • One in 10 of us admit we have doubts about the quality of food if a restaurant does not take cards
  • One in five would not book an appointment to get their hair cut if they weren’t able to check the salon out online first
  • Ninety per cent of consumers say it’s an absolute minimum requirement today that clothing stores, restaurants, grocery stores and hotels / guest-houses accept card payments

Dave Hobday, UK managing director, Worldpay, said: “Consumers still have a strong connection to the high street, but technology has transformed their expectations. Today’s digitally driven shoppers want to be able to research their purchases online, seek advice from staff in-store, pay in any way that they choose, and return items at the click of a button. Businesses that fail to offer that level of service are increasingly viewed with suspicion.”

Worldpay recently released My Business Hub, an all-in one, tablet based till designed to help bring small and independent retailers into the digital age by replacing the traditional cash register. The device enables small business owners to take a complete range of payment options from anywhere in the store, delivering the technology ‘wow factor’ that today’s consumers demand.

Hobday added: “80% of consumers think retailers could be making better use of technology to improve the in-store experience, so it’s reassuring that similar proportions of high street businesses see technology as holding the key to their future survival. Innovations like My Business Hub ensure that great technology is easily accessible to all business. Small businesses need to embrace change and digitally evolve in order to thrive as part of a modern and diverse high street.”