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CONSUMER RESEARCH NAMES CONVENIENCE AND SPEED TOP BENEFITS OF AUTOMATION TECH IN AUSTRALIA, BUT CUSTOMER SERVICE IS STILL CRUCIAL

Software Advice Australia 3 mins read
Retailers have already automated many aspects of the shopping and dining experience. Software Advice asked 300 consumers in Australia what they think about it.

Software recommendation site Software Advice has unveiled its latest consumer research findings, which included over 300 consumers in Australia who have experience with automation technologies at retail or restaurant businesses.

The study shows that 62% of consumers want to improve the in-person shopping experience by finding what they need faster. Also, 59% would prefer a faster checkout experience, and 57% want more information about whether the products they want are in stock. 

Consumers accept that companies use automation technology in areas that make the experience more streamlined: checkout (74%) and finding items in store (57%). 75% cited convenience, above speed (67%), as the most important benefit for consumers, and 32% also said that consumer privacy could be improved.

The research shows that people are familiar with at least some automation technologies and are keen to keep using them. Nearly all respondents (94%) have used contactless payments and would again; 92% said the same for self-checkouts, and 64% would use click-and-collect again.

Other technologies have yet to catch on as much. 44% would like to try cashier-less checkouts, where shoppers can scan items as they go without needing a final checkout. 33% have already tried and liked it.

Among the 93% of survey respondents who feel optimistic about self-checkouts, 98% said they would likely use them for groceries, 49% for other retail stores, and 34% for quick-service restaurants. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of those who have used them said they enjoyed the experience, but many face issues, including errors with the bagging area (78%) and needing employee assistance (70%).

A majority (72%) of respondents think the self-checkout experience has improved over the past five years, and even more (76%) believe they make the in-person shopping experience more efficient. Also, a majority (72%) said they foresee using self-checkout more.

Almost half (43%) said customer service is somewhat essential in a grocery or retail context, with 30% saying it was crucial. But these numbers switched to 28% and 66% respectively when considering restaurants.

Regarding the food service sector, 84% said they prefer to take their time and enjoy the experience when eating at a table-service establishment, and 91% said they like to get in and out as quickly as possible when getting food from a self-service restaurant.

Consumers still see a role for automation when dining in restaurants, with 54% saying they thought the technology is acceptable for ordering from their table (through a QR code or app), and 52% believe it should be used for the checkout process.

However, just over half (51%) said they would be unlikely to order food through an AI tool, while the rest felt they would be happy to do so.

Andrew Blair, Content Analyst for Software Advice Australia, says: “Convenience and speed matter to consumers, and automation can help streamline processes. Businesses that improve automated processes can enhance customer experiences in both retail and restaurants. However, SMEs looking to improve their automated processes must be wary of which technologies appeal the most to their customers, keeping in mind ease of use and the associated challenges of those technologies.

"Automation is valuable in facilitating customers' needs but should not be regarded as the end goal as customers still favour the human touch, especially for the in-person dining experience,” Blair continued.

For further information, please visit softwareadvice.com.au

Survey Methodology:
Software Advice's 2024 Retail Automation Survey was conducted online in February 2024 among 302 respondents in Australia. The goal of the study was to learn how retailers and restaurants can address customer pain points with automation to ensure technology is adding efficiency to the customer experience. Respondents were screened for their experience with automation technologies at retail businesses and restaurants.


About us:

About Software Advice:

Software Advice helps businesses navigate the software buying journey, guiding people through the selection process and providing personalised software recommendations. Founded in 2005, Software Advice has helped nearly 850,000 businesses find the right software for their specific needs through objective research and actionable insights. Software Advice also features over 1,000,000 verified user reviews to ensure people feel confident in their technology decisions. For more information, visit softwareadvice.com.au.


Contact details:

Garry Steel

Marketing Specialist

garry.steel@gartner.com

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