Axis Communications has released the results of its APAC Retail Research study, which surveyed 2,000 consumers from Australia and New Zealand on their preferences for post-pandemic physical shopping experiences and expectations for unmanned stores.
The study found that with the 'new normal' consumers in both countries are less inclined to shop in physical stores, dropping 12 percent in New Zealand and 18 percent in Australia when compared to the pre-pandemic era. While approximately a third of the respondents indicated that they are more likely to visit an unmanned store or one with fewer staff, as they are perceived as being safer to visit.
“Consumer preferences towards health and safety are driving the rapid adoption of contactless experiences and likely to form the new brick and mortar retail reality. We foresee an increased rollout of unmanned stores across Australia and New Zealand as retailers pivot to ensure consumer need for safety and security,” said Rodney Guinto, Key Account Manager at Axis.
The report indicated an increased demand for convenience, with self-checkouts providing longer opening hours and a faster checkout process for six in ten consumers. But while there is a demand for self-checkouts, approximately half of respondents favoured having service assistants to help with the checkout process. Leaving unmanned checkouts for supermarkets, petrol kiosks and other grocery stores specifically.
Respondents also identified safety being a key feature for unmanned stores, with the use of video surveillance to deter crime and manage customer experience.
“Whether fully or partially unmanned, these stores rely on various technologies and automation such as artificial intelligence (AI), QR code authentication, and intelligent video cameras to function. These technologies will be essential to support key functions of unmanned stores such as self-checkout, movement tracking, and security to deliver memorable customer experiences.”