More than two-thirds (67%) of Australian consumers expect that many of the in-store safety features introduced during Covid-19 will remain in place well into the future, new research has shown.

The study, From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail 2021 Report, by mobile and IoT management solutions provider, SOTI, also discovered that 62% of Australian consumers anticipate that the new payment features introduced as part of Covid-19 safety protocols will continue to exist for in-store shopping.

Additionally, almost half (46%) stated that contactless payments will become the new normal for all future in-store purchases.

The integration of technology in retail had previously been focused on convenience and efficiency, but the pandemic has pushed retailers into deploying technology to improve safety standards, according to SOTI vice president of sales for Asia Pacific, Michael Dyson.

“As the recovery of bricks-and-mortar retail continues to accelerate in Australia, our research has uncovered consumers’ foresight into what pandemic-induced shopping features they expect to remain the norm.”

Even after the pandemic and vaccine rollout, Australian consumers believe the future of in-store shopping will remain in-line with Covid-19 regulations, with social distancing (37%), face masks (19%), protection screens at checkouts (37%) and ID contact tracing (22%) expected to linger in the shopping space for quite some time.

Likewise, 21% of consumers said they would prefer some features to stay in place, such as sales associates allowing them to use their mobile devices to purchase items on the shop floor instead of at the cash register.

“Consumers are now getting used to the changes that retailers have made to their in-store operations over the course of the pandemic, to the point where consumers expect them to stay well into the future,” Dyson said.

“In fact, 44% said that they believed the shopping and delivery features adopted during Covid-19 will remain a long-term feature of their shopping experiences. As we move into what is a more optimistic, but still unstable future for the retail sector, it has been encouraging to see both retailer and consumer optimism for this new era of retail.”