Baby boomers crave retail tech


Just as tech hungry as Millennials when it comes to retail experiences

Baby boomers are just as eager to see next generation technology like mixed reality and artificial intelligence being adopted by retailers as their millennial counterparts, according to a new retail report, with nearly three quarters saying they would use the platforms if they were offered.

Despite the widespread perception that younger generations are the tech savvy saviours of a beleaguered British High Street, these figures throw a dampener on the stereotype, revealing that consumers of all ages are eagerly waiting for businesses to take better advantage of the technology available to them.

This is particularly true when it comes to visualisation technology that allows users to preview products at home before committing to purchases, with 73% of consumers aged 18 to 34 saying they would be more likely to shop with a retailer that offered this service, exactly the same as the proportion of older shoppers.

More significantly for retailers, of those consumers who said they expected to be able to use this technology either instore or online, more than half (55%) said they would be more likely to buy something after previewing it.

The figures come just weeks after Business Secretary Greg Clarke held a roundtable with the UK’s leading retailers, discussing how the sector could increase productivity and growth following the release of the prime minister’s new technology focussed industrial strategy.

David Levine, CEO of Manchester based DigitalBridge, which commissioned the report, The Imagination Gap: Retail’s £1bn problem, said retailers should take the figures as a warning not to ignore the importance of implementing technology into their customer offerings.

“There has been a long held belief in the retail sector that increasing the use of technology was only beneficial in attracting younger customers,” he said. “These findings show that this isn’t the case and that businesses may have underestimated the demand for a better shopping experience using the latest technology. Older shoppers are just as engaged in the technological revolution of retail than their younger compatriots and businesses could be missing a huge opportunity by not capitalising on this sooner rather than later.”

As well as revealing the number of consumers who would use visualisation technology, DigitalBridge’s report also highlighting the main benefits consumers think it will offer.

For 61% of consumers, the main advantage of this technology is that they could try different options before committing to a purchase while 29% would use it to get a second opinion on choices, including via social media.

Using this type of technology would also speed up the trend of consumers moving to online, with 15% of shoppers who currently prefer shopping instore saying they would move their custom to a retailer’s website if it offered a better shopping experience.


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