HomeNEWSRetail reality: Study shows customers prefer unmanned stores

Retail reality: Study shows customers prefer unmanned stores

A recent study shows that customers prefer unmanned retail stores post-pandemic.

In an Axis Communications retail research survey with Millieu Insight titled ‘Consumer Preference Towards Unmanned Store Experiences’, 2,000 consumers from Australia and New Zealand participated to gauge their experience with shopping after Covid-19.

The results? Consumers wanting to shop at physical stores in New Zealand has dropped 18 percent compared to before the pandemic.

Overall, consumers in Australia and New Zealand are less likely to visit or shop at physical stores, whether it is a luxury fashion boutique, supermarket, mall, restaurant or pharmacy, after Covid-19. 

Read more: The world of staff-less retail: Shopping comfortably with Comfi

Thirty-five percent of the New Zealand respondents have indicated that they are more likely to visit unmanned stores or physical stores with few to no staff.

Since the pandemic, Covid-19 has birthed many contactless features and unmanned stores in light of more precaution surrounding health and safety.

“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,” says Rodney Guinto, Retail and Segment Developer at Axis Communications.

Comfi has opened an unmanned store in Auckland, running by appointments.

Online bed retailer, Comfi, has recently opened their first physical store in Auckland, with a twist. There is no staff.

The store runs by appointment, with customers able to visit the store at their own time and browse at their own convenience.

The survey shows that New Zealanders are making convenience a priority when it comes to how they shop.  

Sixty-one percent of New Zealanders view self-checkouts and longer opening hours as the top perceived benefits for customers.

When it comes to self-checkouts, 50 percent of New Zealanders prefer having a service assistant to help with self-checkouts.

Consumers are believed to be more receptive to unmanned experiences at stores such as supermarkets and petrol stations.

48 percent of New Zealanders have identified that a crucial element when it comes to unmanned stores is safety and security, saying surveillance cameras should be used to deter crime and manage customer experiences.

“We foresee an increased rollout of unmanned stores across Australia and New Zealand as retailers pivot to ensure consumer need for safety and security,” says Guinto.

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Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email bernadette.basagre@scg.net.nz