Retail tech not meeting shopper expectations

  • February 5, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

Though most consumers use in-store technology many find the experience unsatisfactory and there are worries about security, according to research from Canadian software company Soti.

The research found that 91% of consumers use in-store tech, yet 76% express security concerns with personal data.

Increasing dependence on emerging artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile technologies is creating problems for retailers, as a third of consumers experience tech gaps with in-store devices.

The retail industry is facing a critical juncture where consumers are experiencing a disconnect between their shopping expectations and the in-store reality. As global retail markets continue to evolve, the industry is grappling with the problems of rolling out in-store technology and integrating AI while optimising the supply chain and addressing growing security concerns.

According to Soti’s global retail report, Techspectations: Consumer Demand for Digital Transformation in Retail (, retailers are grappling with the heightened expectations of consumers anticipating seamless in-store interactions, personalised recommendations and instant access to inventory online and in-store to ensure their continued loyalty.

While consumers crave technology to improve their in-store shopping experience, those offered by retailers do not always meet expectations. The study found that while 91% of global consumers have used in-store technology, many believe these devices make the shopping experience worse. Consumers cite difficulties in-store such as a lack of staff to assist with issues relating to self-serve machines (51% of users) and 35% of users complain about poor wifi connectivity when using an in-store device.

The report suggests consumer expectations have risen, largely due to the sophisticated personalisation and seamless processes available online, which in-store technologies currently fail to match. To address this, retailers must invest in AI-driven options and device management to provide consistent, personalised and convenient shopping experiences in both physical stores and online.

Supply chain optimisation in the retail industry is critical, as consumers now demand real-time information, efficient product availability and rapid delivery in-store and online. The global report reveals that 45% of consumers expect to be able to pick up an item ordered online from a physical store on the same day, with even higher expectations in specific regions such as Mexico (60%). Further, 74% of global consumers expect always to know the status of their orders, highlighting the need for efficient supply chain visibility.

“It is crucial to recognise that AI plays a significant role in harnessing deeper intelligence from devices,” said Shash Anand, senior vice president at Soti. “AI-driven diagnostic intelligence and proactive support empower retailers to identify and resolve issues before they impact the consumer experience. By integrating location, signal strength and speed data with critical business information, such as inventory levels and delivery status, AI can ensure that in-store hyper-personalisation can replicate the seamlessness consumers expect from online shopping.”

Security is a significant concern in the retail industry. More than three-quarters (76%) of consumers globally express concerns about entering personal details online or through in-store devices, indicating a pervasive lack of trust in the data collection and payment technologies used in retail. Security concerns extend to fraud, with 35% of global consumers worrying about becoming a victim of financial fraud and another 35% expressing concerns about identity fraud.

Additionally, the report emphasises the importance of in-store device security, as 34% of consumers have concerns using in-store devices due to mistrust of retailers, including the potential exposure of personal details (28%) and the risk of the next user accessing personal information (26%). Despite this, 39% of consumers view in-store devices as tools to enhance shopping convenience and speed, highlighting the need for retailers to balance convenience and security while building trust among those making purchases in the retail space.

“Over the next three years, the focus should be on building trust, safeguarding data and providing seamless experiences that bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping,” said Anand. “The journey towards digital maturity in the retail sector has been slow. It’s crucial for retailers to understand how devices are used in its operations, and to be proactive on identifying and fixing issues. They must recognise the path forward is not solely about rapid technology deployment but that success is reliant on strategic implementation and optimisation for scalability.”

The research was conducted in September 2023 via 11,000 self-completed interviews from nine countries. All interviewees were consumers aged 18 to 65. The markets represented were: The USA (2000), Canada (1000), Mexico (1000), UK (2000), Germany (1000), France (1000), Sweden (1000), Netherlands (1000) and Australia (1000).

With more than 17,000 customers, Soti ( is a mobile platform provider to manage, secure and support business-critical devices.