New research by Vodafone and Allwyn state that 50% of young adults in the UK would like to see improvements in the use of digital technologies at their local corner shop.
The survey was carried out by research agency, Context Consulting, as part of Vodafone and Allwyn’s future of retail report and polled 1,000 young adults.
The findings indicated young adults care more about digital improvements that they do about lower prices, as only 31% said they’d prefer to see prices slashed.
The most common forms of digital tech being used by local corner shops according to the research were websites (19%), social media (16%), and self-service checkouts (15%). However, only 12% of customers said their local store had a mobile app or loyalty scheme and only 9% said they were aware of online collection ordering services.
Nick Gliddon, Vodafone’s business director, said: “The shift to digital during the pandemic created new opportunities for small businesses while also presenting many new challenges, especially for the convenience and local sector. A strong foundation of digital technology and skills is now more than a nice to have, it is crucial for small business owners who want to compete and succeed now. We want to ensure small business leaders have access to the right tools and guidance to confidently navigate the digital environment. The corner shop has been one of the most resilient outlets on the high street – we want to ensure that remains the case, and this group of entrepreneurs stays ahead of the competition.”
There is an opportunity for local retailers to upgrade their use of digital technology in order to appeal more to younger customers, which some retailers are already doing.
Premier retailer Mos Patel uses social media regularly to connect with customers and provide better service. He said: “We have invested in developing our own local delivery app. It was a significant step for us, based on the feedback that delivery was very popular with our local community. We may not have 100 drivers, but you get a better service.
“We will always know our communities better than the big brands, and we must not leave the use of customer-facing tech to them. I’d encourage everyone to seriously consider upgrading. It is important to make sure your shop is only one click away.”
Founding partner of SaveTheHighStreet.org, Alex Schlagman reiterated that using digital technologies will become critical to the success of independent convenience stores.
“This is what consumers want and the business benefits are clear – from boosting footfall to increasing productivity, improving customer experience and more,” he said.
“As it stands today though, far too many still don’t have the foundations of an online presence or the core skills that they need. Technology is our friend not our enemy, and we are working hard to ensure local independents have the support required to make the most of these opportunities over the coming years.”