Why generation X marks the spot when it comes to in-store connectivity and tech innovation

Ask anyone who they think is driving the in-store retail revolution and they’ll almost certainly point to the generation Z and millennial age groups. These are the younger shoppers, raised on a diet of Instagram, Amazon and Snapchat and they are now demand the same immediacy and intimacy from digital interactions when they venture instore.

There’s no reason to think that these age groups aren’t helping to push what’s possible in bricks-and-mortar retail, but the latest research by Vodat reveals a much more complex picture. And one of our stand-out findings is that the older generation X are consistently the most open to tech innovation compared to younger shoppers. Surprised? You should be.

In our poll of 1,000 consumers from across the UK, generation X respondents (who also have greater spending power than millennials and GenZ) were the most willing to use a wide array of instore technology, ranging from contactless payment and touchscreens, through to emerging retail tech such as augmented and virtual reality.

One of the key drivers of this trend is that GenX shoppers view store technology as a fast and convenient way to satisfy their need for product information. For example, 65% of GenX said they would be happy to use digital touchscreens to access product details – this compares to 53% of millennials and 50% of GenZ shoppers.

The stats tell a similar story for interactive shelves and digital shelf edge labels that provide product specs, information kiosks that also enable ordering, and shop floor staff equipped with tablets or smartphones – GenX consistently polled higher.

Rather surprisingly 20% of GenX shoppers also said they would happily interact with robotic shop assistants, compared to 16% of millennials and 12% of GenZ. While 17% of GenX shopper said they’d like to see augmented and virtual reality instore compared to just 10% of the two younger age groups.

We often think of younger shoppers as those glued to their mobiles, but our research shows that older shoppers are more likely to download and use retailers’ apps to collect and redeem loyalty points, vouchers and offers. For example, loyalty card apps are popular with half of GenX compared to 44% of GenZ and 42% of millennials.

So, what does this trend mean for retailers looking to invest in their in-store technology and improve or replace their digital networks to make this change happen? One clear take-home finding is that instore connectivity and customer-facing tech have now firmly entered the retail mainstream. Shoppers from all generations up to and including GenX now expect slick, innovative digital experiences while they shop. Retailers that successfully fulfil this desire, rather than simply paying lip service, will win a greater slice of the market and successfully increase metrics such as conversion rates, repeat custom, customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

If you would like to find out more about in-store connectivity and the customer pain points retailers should avoid, visit our interactive webpage to find out more and how you can start solving customer pain points with Vodats fully managed network solutions. 

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