Skip to main content

Study: Consumers embrace some, but not all, automation

Zach Russell headshot
Nearly a quarter (73%) of global consumers want to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible.

As retailers and restaurants continue to adopt new technology, automation is most acceptable with consumers for checkout and payment.

A majority (72%) of consumers are already users of automated technologies such as self-checkout, curbside pickup and contactless payment, according to a new survey from Software Advice of over 2,000 global consumers.  Nearly a quarter (73%) of consumers want to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible, and 52% say the same of other retail stores, which these technologies help with.

“Consumers believe automated tech has brought speed and convenience to in-store shopping and restaurant ordering, and many are ready for more to be introduced,” said Software Advice.

Most consumers (67%) say human-centered customer service at restaurants is very important, while 31% say the same of retail and grocery stores. Over half (55%) of global consumers say automated food preparation is unacceptable for both quick-service and table-service restaurants. Still, some diners are more open to robot servers at quick service restaurants (30%) and table service (10%).

Nearly half (49%) of restaurant visitors say they’re likely to order food through an artificial intelligence (AI) tool, such as a chatbot or drive-thru, which have the potential to speed up wait times and make personalized recommendations based on past orders.

Despite increasing acceptance of automation, only 33% of consumers polled by Software Advice think it’s acceptable for businesses to exclusively use automated tech to deliver personalized recommendations. Only a slightly higher figure (35%) say it's okay for businesses to fully automate returns, exchanges and refunds.

While consumers believe technology makes their in-store shopping more efficient, they still have concerns about their privacy.

“With the recent expansion of AI-equipped security cameras at self-checkout kiosks, many customers are aware that their purchases, and their likenesses, are never truly private, even when they scan and bag their own items,” said Software Advice.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds