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Enhancing in-Store Experience: Customer conflict calls for Both Robots & Humans

Retailers are always thinking of expanding their consumer base. This way, the chances of generating more revenue increases. For this to happen, retailers need to continuously upgrade and enhance the in-store experience provided by the stores to invite new sets of customers. Elevated levels of shopper engagement due to an influx of technology and innovation, coupled with enhanced levels of in-store personalization is the perfect formula to make customers keep coming back to the store.

But here lies the question. When it comes to customer experience, how much of technology is good? There are customers belonging to the younger age group who know automation and technology like the back of their hands. Conversely, the customers belonging to an older age group still value the human touch and believe that proper customer service scores over technological implementations when it comes to enhancing the overall in-store experience. There is a clear conflict between the age groups. So, what does the retailer do? Can he still think of expanding his consumer base comprising of customers from both age groups? The answer is Yes. But first, let’s get to know about the conflict a little more.

robots and humans in retail

The Conflict

Retailers are always looking to devise innovative ways and methods to increase the levels of shopper engagement in store. This is the digital age and technology plays a huge role in assisting these retailers. As mentioned earlier, people who are younger will be more in sync with technology and its fundamentals. Although the elder contingent will not be completely averse to technology, but will also not want to be completely governed by it. This fact is validated by the latest ‘Sixth Sense Report’ by Mindtree. As per the report,

  • 51% of shoppers of the age group of (16-24) will feel happy visiting and being served at a store with robots completely in charge of it (No Humans).
  • On the other hand, 78% of shoppers above the age of 55 will not be happy to visit or be served at a store with no humans inside it.

Technology and automation is more than just a modern-day trend today. In fact, for providing enhanced levels of in-store experience to customers (at least to the younger, tech-savvy lot), it’s a no brainer. On the other hand, it’s also important not to undermine the preferences of the current customers from yesteryears (older ones) as then it might have a direct effect on the levels of sales. Well, one must say that it’s quite a conflict and the retailers might just be scratching their heads.

Striking the Perfect Balance

The obvious thing to do for retailers in such a scenario will be to strike a proper balance in terms of the deployment of technology and human personnel in the store. Few retailers might feel that technology is the overwhelming factor when it comes to driving in-store personalization. They are right, but may be not entirely. The safe option would be to automate the store with an influx of technologies, but at the same time allowing the essence of customer service to prevail. Human customer service to be precise.

Imagine a store with a handful of lifeless robots attending to the younger adults, and then proper human beings weaving their magic on the elders. Two things can happen because of this. The relatively younger contingent can avail the services of both humans and robots and as a result, enjoy a one of a kind in-store experience and get converted into a loyal customer for the ages. The elders on the other hand, will get a chance to be served by their preferred humans, but at the same time can witness the ever-so prospective robots from close quarters. Who knows, they might just approach a robot over a human the next time they walk into the store. 

Here is the thing. There will always be conflicts present among customers. But retailers will have to be wise enough to understand the customers that their business needs to target, and devise their strategies accordingly. Taking the case in hand and the objective of consumer expansion into perspective, it might just be wise to provide customers with the best of both worlds – ‘Technology enabled robots & Emotion enabled humans’. At least for the time being.

About Abhishek Mitra

Content is King and Abhishek Mitra firmly lives by it. He is highly committed & passionate in what he does and it's evident through the content that he produces. An MBA Graduate in Media & Entertainment from Whistling Woods International (Mumbai), Abhishek has acquired expertise on developing content pertaining to various verticals overtime due to the sheer knack for it. Apart from being an inspirational scriptwriter in his teenage days, he has worked as an academic research writer in the past. Presently, he handles the content for Tickto.

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