Consumers Open to Drones, Robots & Virtual Reality

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Consumers Open to Drones, Robots & Virtual Reality


REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. — Consumers are excited about engaging with new technology in the retail industry, as long as they are in control of their experience, according to new research that looks at where consumers are on the retail technology adoption lifecycle.

The Oracle Retail 2025 Report found that when decision-making is put into the hands of robots that have access to a virtual well of information on a retailer’s customers, that gives some consumers a reason for pause — but not enough to discourage the retail tech push. 

"Consumers clearly indicated that they have a conservative appetite for retail technologies that require deep personal data and make decisions on their behalf," said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager at Oracle Retail and Oracle Hospitality. "This signals brands to focus on building a strong foundation to win trust. Warm attitudes toward utilizing virtual reality and receiving recommendations for custom-made accessories produced with 3D printing points to consumers' willingness to adopt new technologies if they are in control of their experience."

How about a grocer suggesting a shopping list for a consumer’s approval based on purchase history, social and environmental data? That’s perfectly OK, with 58 percent of consumers holding a positive view of such a solution. The percentage only goes down four points when the automation goes a step further: a grocer charging and shipping the items selected using the aforementioned data.

Real-time delivery is even more appealing, with 67 percent of consumers liking the option of having groceries delivered to their doorstep via drones. And 54 perfect found the idea of wearable activity trackers being linked to a pharmacy to get health and wellness product recommendations favorable.

On the lower end of the popularity spectrum, real-time alerts on current product recalls only enthused 46 percent of respondents. 

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and IoT (Internet of Things) present the opportunity to better anticipate consumers' next purchase. However, establishing a strong foundation of trust is critical to success when rolling out new experiences to consumers, the Oracle report concluded. 

Click here to see the full story from Convenience Store News sister publication Retail Leader.

The Oracle Retail 2025 Report polled 709 consumers in February 2017.