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Is Technology Winning Retail Customers?

by Robert Hetu  |  November 14, 2018  |  1 Comment

In a NYC neighborhood becoming synonymous with experimental retail installations, Soho provides a living laboratory for observation of human shopping behavior. During my recent visit, UNIQLO was a clear winner, sporting lines of shoppers making purchases from a store that had very little in the way of overt technology on display. While nearby two different H&M storefronts were neat and quiet, almost undisturbed by customers. The Amazon 4-Star store was very busy with curious shoppers. It’s very nice bathroom facility was getting regular use, but the cash registers were not ringing. The Nike flagship store was surprisingly quiet, I didn’t observe any customers using the basketball court or arcade style machines. On each of its many floors I observed shoppers making purchases but didn’t see any utilization of in store technology such as scanning.



Overall, my conclusion is that merchandising prowess, attentive associates and interesting experiences, not technology, were generating sales.  Kiosks, interactive displays, tablets and other gadgets sat idly by while consumers interacted with knowledgeable associates and attractive product displays. Physical retailing success is still driven by meeting the needs of customers. Gartner describes these as three distinct groups, the Basics, the Enhancers, and the Personalizers.

customer expereincers

Implementation of technology in retail will only be successful when it helps customers to have a more fulfilling experience based on their expectations.

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Category: retail-trends  

Tags: amazon  competition  consumers  customer-analytics  customer-centricity  hm  multichannel  nike  retail  satisfaction  stores  trends  unified-retail-commerce  uniqlo  

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Is Technology Winning Retail Customers?

  1. Tom Austin says:

    Well done, Bob!
    The business of business is business. Physical retailing success is still driven by meeting the needs of customers with, as you say, the Basics, the Enhancers and the Personalizers. Too many people and organizations are wasting their resources on “Digital Business.”

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