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    Consumers Rate Supermarkets, Gas Stations Tops at Using Technology

    Seventy-eight percent believe grocery store solutions enhance the shopping experience.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News

    Empathica Inc., a provider of customer experience management solutions, has issued a consumer ranking of industries on their adoption of technology to enhance the customer experience. The data was compiled from a Empathica Consumer Insights Panel survey that polled 11,000 North American consumers.

    On an industry level, at the top of the ranking, 78 percent of consumers believe the supermarket and grocery store industry currently uses technology that enhances their experience. Gas stations ranked second, with 60 percent of consumers. However, only 15 percent of consumers said convenience stores were successful in doing so. C-stores ranked 13th on the list, tied with home improvement stores.

    In addition, only one in five consumers felt quick-serve restaurants successfully leverage technologies that enhance customer service.

    The rankings are as follows:

    Percentage of consumers who feel the industry as a whole successfully leverages technology to provide a better customer experience

    1. Supermarkets/Grocery Stores (78%)
    2. Gas Stations (60%)
    3. Airlines (37%)
    4. Pharmacies (34%)
    5. Electronic Stores (33%)
    6. Entertainment Venues (32%)
    7. Hotels/Motels (27%)
    8. Department Stores (26%)
    9. Discount Stores/Warehouse Clubs (22%)
    10. Quick Service/Fast Food Restaurants (20%)
    11. Clothing (18%)
    12. Casual Dining (16%)
    13. Convenience Stores (15%); Hardware/Home Improvement (15%)
    14. Auto Parts Stores (12%)
    15. Fine Dining Restaurants (10%)
    16. Bars/Taverns (7%)
    17. Furniture Stores (6%)

    “While in-store, mobile and social technologies are still emerging, it’s interesting to see consumer perception for which industries are starting to leverage tools in a way that gives consumers a better overall experience,” said Gary Edwards, chief customer officer at Alpharetta, Ga.-based Empathica, which also has offices in Canada and the United Kingdom.. “Consumers are starting to express a willingness to embrace some of these tools, such as checkout technologies that save them time. Brands should be cognizant of the ways in which emerging technologies can be utilized to enhance their customer experience. For those that are able to introduce new technologies to provide a better in-store experience for their customers, there appears to be a positive word-of-mouth marketing benefit to brands.”

    According to the survey, of those who have tried a new retail technology, 40 percent indicate that they recommended that retailer to friends and family as a direct result of trying the technology. Interestingly, of those who said they hadn’t experienced a new technology, 18 percent still recommended the brand based on noting that the technology was offered.

    Preference for Contact Via Mobile Devices

    The Empathica survey also looked at the frequency that consumers wanted to be contacted via various channels, including being sent coupons or offers through their mobile device. For each industry, respondents could select daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly contact, or indicate they never wanted to receive offers, aren’t sure, or don’t use the industry’s services.

    Results showed that while consumers were still reluctant to be contacted with mobile offers, many indicated they prefer monthly contact for the majority of services. Weekly notifications ranked higher for staple goods and dining options like grocery (35 percent), gas stations (22 percent), casual dining (17 percent) and quick-serve (16 percent).
    Supermarkets and convenience stores were ranked highest out of all industries for consumers who would like to receive mobile offers on a daily basis, with 8.8 percent and 8.1 percent reporting they preferred this contact, respectively. All other industries were at or below 5 percent.

    For more information about the results of the latest Empathica Consumer Insights Panel survey, visit www.empathica.com/insights/.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News
    • About Don Longo Don Longo is editorial director of EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News. He has covered retailing for more than 30 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. Previously, he spearheaded the editorial efforts at a variety of business publications focused on mass, drug, grocery and specialty store retailing. Convenience Store News won American Business Media’s Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Issue of the Year in 2008 and 2012. Longo has won numerous other editorial awards over his career and is frequently quoted in the national and local news media on the subjects of retailing and consumer trends.

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