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Pandemic accelerated tech product launches

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The pandemic saw brands deploy a host of tech innovations to connect with shoppers.

Approximately 58%  of retail professionals say the pandemic accelerated new technology-related product launches at their company, according to a report by global research firm Euromonitor International and the National Retail Federation.

The report, “Using Retail Tech Innovation to Enhance the Customer Experience, found that brands have leveraged technologies such augmented reality and virtual reality to connect with consumers, with 31%  of consumers using these technologies to buy household items and furniture this year. 

“The pandemic has drastically accelerated the implementation of new technology for many retailers,” said NRF VP of research development and industry analysis Mark Mathews. “While these developments can typically take several years of meticulous planning, many were unveiled to consumers in a matter of weeks.”

Innovations such as livestreaming emerged as a new retail channel during the pandemic, and findings from Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey fielded in March 2021 suggest that globally, nearly 30%  of consumers purchased through this medium in the last month. China recorded a high adoption usage at 63%. While adoption was lower in the United States, at 29%, livestreaming popularity will likely continue as the concept takes hold. 

Not only did companies accelerate transformation online, they also ramped up in-store tech investments. Almost 40% of consumers point to scan-as-you-go, smart cart, and walk-in, walk-out technologies as top desired features.

Tech-based immersive experiences will continue to pick up as consumers return to stores more frequently. Euromonitor’s digital survey results found that more than 42% of consumers are comfortable with in-store assistance from robots, and one in five are open to the idea of microchip implantation to enable payments.

“Technology will continue to be used to improve operational efficiencies and elevate the customer experience, positively impacting brand perception as a result,” said Michelle Evans, senior head of digital consumer at Euromonitor International.

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