More than half of Brits want to try out in-store tech while shopping


New research has revealed that 54% of Brits – rising to six out of ten men (59%) – are interested in trying out new retail technology while out on the high street. Half of women (50%) also admit that they’re keen to improve their shopping experience with the latest tech.

The in-store retail tech men most want to use while out shopping are tablets and touchscreens (30%), allowing them to find out more about product functionality. Around a quarter (23%) also say they’d like to try voice-enabled interactive experiences in stores.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults was commissioned by global retail and innovation agency Outform as part of its presentation at leading retail trade event EuroShop 2020.

Survey results also found that across a wide range of product categories, UK shoppers still prefer to buy in-store than online: 55% prefer to get their white goods on the high street, two-thirds (66%) prefer it for clothes and 72% for furniture.

In addition, more than half (56%) still prefer to shop in-store for consumer technology like phones, TVs and laptops – while 84% prefer physical stores for their food shopping and three-quarters (75%) for buying cosmetics.

Simon Hathaway, Managing Director of Outform EMEA, says: “The UK high street has been feeling the pressure of online competition and so has upped its game. The elements that have always differentiated physical stores from e-commerce, like personal service and the ability to talk to another human – still remain. But now, stores are bringing in new technology like virtual reality, augmented reality and touchscreen functionality to make it even better. Retail has become experiential and shoppers are responding positively.”

Consumers were asked why they might prefer to shop in-store rather than online. The top five reasons, in order, were:

  • I can ask for information
  • The in-store promotions and discounts
  • The choice of products
  • It’s a more pleasurable experience
  • Personal customer service.

The research also asked shoppers to name the retailers where they prefer the physical store experience to buying at that brand’s website. The top ten were:

  1. Tesco
  2. Asda
  3. Sainsbury’s
  4. Boots
  5. Marks and Spencer
  6. Superdrug
  7. IKEA
  8. Argos
  9. Currys PC World
  10. John Lewis

Hathaway adds: “It’s no surprise that most of the retailers where shoppers prefer the store to the website are supermarkets and pharmacies, but it’s intriguing to see brands like Argos, IKEA and John Lewis in the top ten. Those retailers have invested heavily in creating a welcoming, tech-driven and omnichannel in-store experience, and that’s clearly been noticed by the general public.”