Almost three-quarters of in-store shoppers (74%) believe the use of technology such as smartphones, touch-screen kiosks and contactless payment terminals will make shopping on Black Friday a better experience by providing information and discounts along with quicker and more personalised service.
More than half (53%) of respondents in a survey conducted by Vista Retail Support, a retail technology support and IT services business, say going online via their smartphone is the first step they will take to access product information when they are in a store on Black Friday (November 27). For 44%, the smartphone is where they look for discounts or to compare prices.
Only 32% would go to the product on the shelf for information and just 9% would ask a sales assistant.
"Black Friday is now fixed in the retail calendar and many store operators are keen to build on the success of last year," said James Pepper, Technical Services Director at Vista Retail Support. "Yet in a crowded store, lack of information and slow service can lead to frustration among shoppers. If store operators are to avoid bad headlines on Black Friday they need to put technology at the heart of their preparation."
Although 71% of those surveyed said they would be going bargain-hunting on Black Friday, 72% said they would not enter a store if it was too crowded, while the majority (59%) said they would be put off by long queues. More than a third (34%) said they would quit if they could not easily find what they wanted.
Patience with queueing is very limited, with 30% saying they would wait no longer than five minutes to pay for their bargains. Only 14% were prepared to wait up to 20 minutes, although 5% were prepared to queue for more than half-an-hour.
"With increased footfall predicted for Black Friday, retailers need to adopt every method available to make sure shoppers keep coming through their doors," added Pepper. "The smartphone is becoming an indispensable tool for many shoppers as they go online to check prices, download information or look for offers and discounts.
"This makes a slick omnichannel experience and installation of completely robust in-store connectivity a necessity for retailers, along with technology such as contactless payments that will cut queueing and ease the customer journey at a stressful time."