SecurityBrief Australia - Technology news for CISOs & cybersecurity decision-makers
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Australian retail faces digital transformation challenges
Wed, 31st Jan 2024

A recently unveiled report, "Techspectations: Consumer Demand for Digital Transformation in Retail" from technology firm SOTI, reveals pressing consumer trends and concerns in Australia's fast-moving retail sector. The spotlight is firmly on the issue of in-store technology, with a ballooning 93% of Australian shoppers using this technology as part of their retail experience.

Despite the widespread uptake of in-store technological tools, it seems that retailers are facing an uphill journey with the implementation of seamless in-store digital experiences. Data culled from the new report illustrates a concerning 80% of consumers expressing security concerns over the use of personal data online or via in-store devices. Moreover, the research found that a significant 44% of consumers encountered issues when utilising these technologies, a figure which encompasses problems with self-serve machines and patchy Wi-Fi connectivity.

Furthermore, today's time-pressured consumers expect a seamless supply chain management system with 77% expecting full visibility over the status of their online orders. According to Michael Dyson, VP for Sales, APAC at SOTI, “Retailers need to acknowledge the pivotal role of AI in unlocking advanced capabilities in devices. AI's ability to combine data such as location, signal quality and speed with vital business metrics, including stock levels and shipment updates, ensures that consumers can enjoy a convenient, tailored and personal shopping experience, whether online or in-store."

However, the rise in tech adoption has given rise to another issue – data security. More than three-quarters (80%) of consumers are worried about entering personal details online or through in-store devices. Fears extend to falling victim to financial fraud (42%) and identity fraud (39%). Additionally, 42% of consumers worry that retailers will not secure their details and 31% fear the potential exposure of personal data to third parties.

Remarkably, despite these security reservations, 34% of consumers perceive in-store devices as tools that enhance the convenience and speed of shopping. Michael Dyson emphasised the significant role of trust-building in the coming years, saying that the retail industry must ensure data protection and integrate experiences that seamlessly connect digital and physical retail spaces. He added, "The future retail environment is not just about rapid adoption of technology. It's equally about strategic planning and enhancing scalability through a thoughtful implementation process."

The report underscores the ever-changing landscape of retail – a sector increasingly characterised by digital sophistication and consumers' heightened expectations. Faced with consumers' mounting demand for seamless in-store interactivity, personalised recommendations, and instant access to both online and in-store inventories, retailers are grappling with finding solutions to secure loyalty in a progressively digital world.