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Among the big changes in the retail panorama, particularly in the fashion industry, according to new research by Scandit, the experiential factor can make a difference on the purchase decision.

Consumers shopping in fashion stores have high expectations and desire an increasingly rich and fully connected shopping. These new demands stem from the multiple and frequent convenient and fast online shopping experiences.

New Scandit research, a leader in smart data capture, offers an interesting insight into the expectations of consumers who attend fashion stores. In line with customer experience developments, customers are demanding efficient stores, impeccable customer service, knowledgeable staff and real, engaging experiences. In short, as online shopping is evolving rapidly and providing increasing quality services at the click of a button, what they expect is that traditional-style shopping will not be outdone.

European retailers are responding accordingly, with 93 percent of respondents saying they believe experiential retail is critical to securing the future of the physical store. 73% plan, over the next 12 months, to invest in technology designed to offer customers new multichannel experiences. In addition, using technology to make store employees become true consultants capable of delivering unique experiences is considered a priority by 59 percent of retailers.

The reasons why people still go to stores to shop are: thepossibility to touch products, to try them on, to be able to have them right away, and to be able to receive assistance from staff. Critical issues include: long lines that can drive customers away from the store, limited stock availability, and staff who are often poorly trained.

Among the industry's major challenges to meeting consumer needs is the creation of innovative and experiential environments that enable customers to make purchases without wasting time, receive the support they need, and have a smooth, multichannel shopping experience. Samuel Mueller, CEO of Scandit, says, "Pandemic has accelerated the evolution of the consumer, thanks to the growth of online shopping, and the message that resonates is clear: customers want a connected shopping experience that is flexible and fluid across all touchpoints."

Technology can respond to customers' needs by enhancing their offline experiences as well. Retailers need technology solutions that integrate seamlessly into their operations, are cost-effective, and require minimal commitment from staff in terms of training. The ability to quickly access real-time information on the spot by capturing data from barcodes, labels, or directly from the shelves would enable store employees to overcome some of the main reasons for losing customers.

Looking ahead, the research states that Italian consumers are willing to use an app on a mobile device to learn more about products, view offers, and pay without having to wait in line.