New research from YouGov shows that over a third (35%) of customers would like retailers to offer free Wi-Fi in their stores.
The findings were released in the Innovations in Retailing 2015 report which asked a sample of 2,114 UK adults a series of questions relating to retail, technology and online.
The research found that free Wi-Fi was not only the piece of technology consumers would most like to see, but it is also the most likely criteria to encourage consumers to select a particular shop.
James McCoy, research director of YouGov Reports, said: “Consumers are increasingly looking to merge their in-store and online shopping experiences. They want to use it to both find out more about the products they are considering buying but also to check whether they can get a better deal elsewhere.”
McCoy continued: “Some retailers have already moved in this direction; both Tesco and ASDA have launched free in-store Wi-Fi to allow customers to access product information, recipes and find out the latest offers and deals. Consumers clearly want it and many are already using it. It could well be in retailers’ interests to listen to these calls.”
The report also found that some 40% of consumers would like to see self-service checkouts as a customary part of the retail experience. While 21% of respondents stated they would like staff equipped with tablets to help customers with in-store purchases.
YouGov has said that the findings from the report indicate consumers want to use technology to improve their shopping experience. Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents said they have used a mobile device to compare prices while shopping in-store, with this figure rising to 33% for 25-29 year olds.
Speaking about the latest YouGov findings, Michael Bennett, managing director of Food PR specialists Pelican Communications, said: ‘For grocery shopping and technology to co-exist their needs to be a certain amount of practicality involved. The high demand for Wi-Fi suggests consumers are more inclined to use their own device than seek advice from staff equipped with tablets.’
Bennett continued: ‘Observing how the big four use technology in the coming years will be telling – it could be an area that bolsters these retailers footfall. Will this result in the big four introducing more free customer benefits to try and beat the discounters?’
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