IN-STORE TECHNOLOGY DRAWS CONSUMERS: SURVEY

NEW YORK -- Consumers report that in-store technologies -- including electronic point-of-sale signage, self-scanning systems, product information kiosks and handheld shopping assistants -- have a profound effect on service, according to a study conducted by KPMG here, in conjunction with Indiana University."The hard part is determining how precious resources should be invested. Our survey finds that

NEW YORK -- Consumers report that in-store technologies -- including electronic point-of-sale signage, self-scanning systems, product information kiosks and handheld shopping assistants -- have a profound effect on service, according to a study conducted by KPMG here, in conjunction with Indiana University.

"The hard part is determining how precious resources should be invested. Our survey finds that in-store technologies can have a tremendous impact on a retailer's ability to build customer relationships, maintain customer loyalty and bolster areas like service," said Mark Larson, national industry director for KPMG's retail practice. "Those players that set strategic plans in motion now will be well situated to secure market share," he said.

Seventy percent of the 2,413 consumers surveyed nationwide said they believed that they would benefit from the adoption of more in-store technologies. Only 9% of the consumers surveyed believed that having these technologies in the store would be a disadvantage. "While everyone is focusing on the Internet, in-store technologies and the integration of on-line and in-store activities may have an even greater impact on the future of retailing," said Raymond Burke, professor at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. "Many of the benefits of on-line shopping can be delivered to the physical store. Our survey shows that consumers respond enthusiastically to these in-store technologies." Burke noted that every technology tested is currently available.

Consumers responded most enthusiastically to electronic shelf labels, which show the names and prices of merchandise. Ninety-two percent of consumers surveyed said they would use the technology at least some of the tie they shop, and 50% said that it would be a big advantage while shopping. Thirty percent of respondents said that they most liked the technology's ability to verify the sale price of an item. Most importantly, 64% of consumers felt that a store that implements this technology provides better service.

Next on the list of favored in-store technology was handheld bar-code scanners. Eighty percent of those surveyed felt that it would provide an advantage while shopping, and 48% of that group indicated it would provide a significant advantage. Fifty-three percent of consumers said that a store that provided this technology would be "fun to shop."

Kiosks were favored by 77% of those surveyed. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they were much more likely to shop at a store that provided this technology.

Consumers also responded favorably to a handheld shopping device that provided them with product information, usage suggestions and other information as they shopped the store. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said it provided value and 61% said they were more likely to shop in a store that featured the handheld technology. Respondents indicated that the greatest benefit was the ability to deliver current, detailed product information as they shopped.