Emerging retail tech straddles the line between utilitarian and useless. Improving the customer experience is usually the end goal but when it's implemented just for the sake of showing off, consumers don't always find it useful.
According to a June 2018 JDA Software survey, consumers were receptive to the idea of retail tech. Nearly all (97%) said new technologies either always or sometimes enhanced the customer experience. Specifically, 42% said features like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mobile coupons and in-store robots always enhance it.
Mobile coupons are very different from robots, though, as most consumers have considerably more experience with using apps for discount codes than receiving customer assistance from a non-human helper.
With the rise of smart speakers and phone-based assistants like Siri, voice assistance is different matter. Forty percent of internet users worldwide had used a voice-controlled device for shopping, according to a JDA survey. Among those who had used Siri, Google Home or others, 17% used it for research only, 12% for buying only and 11% a combination of the two.
Despite conflicting reports, by many measures those figures are higher in the US--at least among those who already own smart speakers. On the high end, over half (54%) of US smart speaker owners had ever made a purchase via voice commerce, according to Delineate, while that number dropped to 26% in a survey by Voicebot, Rain and PullString.