Less than a fifth of consumers trust retailers with their personal data, new study finds. 

According to Zebra Technologies’ annual Global Shopper Study, only 13% of shoppers trust retailers with their personal data.

This marks the lowest level of trust out of the 10 industries included in the survey. The study that analysed the attitudes, opinions and expectations of shoppers, retail associates, and decision makers found 73% of shoppers want greater flexibility when it comes to control of their data and 66% of associates believe they can provide a better customer experience if equipped with tablets.

Globally the topic of security is being explored continuously and whether it is about country legislation or corporate privacy breaches, awareness is building and has influenced consumer opinion, according to Zebra Technologies sales director, Tom Christodoulou.

“Locally with legislation such as Notifiable Data Breaches and the current Encryption Bill, the notion of data protection is being upheld by consumers and retailers must ensure services are in place. For example, two factor authentication or opt out choices be given to customers to showcase and communicate what options are being provided to ensure maximum protection of personal data,” he said.

The study also showed that nearly 80% of retail decision makers, compared to 49%of store associates, agreed that staff checkout areas are becoming less necessary due to new technologies that can automate checkout.

But what does this mean for the Australian workforce?  “The future is a mix of personal customer service and completely frictionless customer service based on customer demand. What we can forecast, whilst there will always be a need for customer service and attention, there will be new opportunities for retail staff to expand their services beyond in-store interactions.

“Already we are experiencing new ways our retail clients want to work and this includes empowering staff with hardware technology to empower them and from a corporate level teams understand their workforce based on analytical data. When combining these aspects, I believe we will continue to see further innovation by retailers to explore how the industry can thrive,” Christodoulou said.

More than half of those surveyed agreed that their company is understaffed, and nearly half feel overworked.  Store associates cite frustration with their inability to assist customers as 42% find they have little time to help shoppers because of pressure to get other tasks completed. Another 28% claim it’s difficult to get information to help shoppers. Retail decision makers and store associates concur that shoppers can have a better experience with technology-equipped sales associates.

Also, more than half of retail decision makers are converting point-of-sale space to self-checkout, and 62% are transforming it for online order pickup.

When it comes to smartphone use, 51% of shoppers believe they are better connected than store associates. Retailers are responding by investing in edge technologies to combat this gap with nearly 60% planning to increase their spend on handheld mobile computers by more than 6%s, while one in five intend spending  more than 10% on rugged tablets in the next three years.

This article was republished with permission from Appliance Retailer