Retailers missing the digital opportunity

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
Gina Acosta profile picture

A majority of shoppers like shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers, but lack of digital engagement sends them elsewhere to buy.

Those are the findings of a recent Scandit consumer survey of more than 1,500 respondents in the U.S., UK and Germany, suggesting that brick-and-mortar retailers are missing valuable opportunities to digitally engage with customers and losing sales in the process.

Survey results show that almost three-quarters (74%) feel positive or very positive toward traditional physical retailers. However, the data also indicates that brick-and-mortar retailers are not taking full advantage of the shopping apps that enable real-time digital engagement and information that prompt customers to buy in the store.

The survey, which sought to gauge consumer attitudes toward brick-and-mortar retailers and benchmark the proliferation of mobile shopping apps that offer barcode scanning in their current shopping experiences, uncovered several alarming facts pointing to retailers' ineffectiveness in meeting their customers' expectations.

About 58% of survey respondents reported that after browsing items in store, they often or sometimes purchase them later with a mobile device. In addition, 41% of consumers said when an item is not available in the store they buy it from a competing online or brick-and-mortar retailer.  

When respondents were asked what features they would or are planning to use in a mobile scanning app while shopping in store:

  • 30% reported they would use it for self-checkout
  • 26% would use an app to search for sale items
  • 25% would use it to access customer reviews
  • 24% of survey participants said they would access in-store coupons

The message from consumers is clear: Brick-and-mortar retailers are falling short of delivering a seamless, digitally connected in-store experience that satisfies customers and converts engagement into sales.

"Web retailers' increasing entry into the brick-and-mortar retail space inspired us to share how to leverage current technology to create the store of the future today," said Scandit CEO Samuel Mueller. "For example, a customer seeking a specific product such as a food item with vegan ingredients can scan an entire shelf of goods and then use augmented reality feedback to have all vegan products instantly highlighted in their smartphone screen display. Consumers and industry experts agree that brick-and-mortar retailers are well-positioned to take back sales revenue from big online enterprises," said Mueller. "The retail ecosystem is already built around the barcode as the primary source of product information. By using ubiquitously available smart devices and affordable software, retailers can turn barcodes into a seamless customer experience foundation with minimal overhead. The next-generation mobile data capture technology that Scandit provides will help brick-and-mortar retailers compete successfully by allowing them to deliver the best of the online and in-store shopping experiences to their customers."