Smart Stores

Rebooting the retail store through in-store automation

I’d rather be shopping – in stores with automation technologies

Brick-and-mortar retailers have a problem. Customers expect the efficiency and convenience of an online experience when they visit their stores – if they visit their stores. Luckily, automation is here to save the day. It can stamp out customer pain points, making physical stores more attractive. So why do only 40% of retailers consider automation a strategic imperative?

A strategic imperative

We wanted to find out. For the latest report from the Capgemini Research Institute – Smart Stores – Rebooting the retail store through in-store automation – we talked to over 5,000 consumers, and 500 retail executives. We learned that:

  • Automation appeals to consumers – 66% believe it can solve challenges such as long checkout lines
  • It can bring significant benefits – 46% of consumers are willing to shift their online purchase from a wholly online retailer to a retailer with stores that use automation technology
  • To scale, retailers need consumer trust and confidence – but a significant dissonance in perception persists between retailers and consumers
  • Following specific best practices will allow retailers to drive scale and capitalize on the benefits of automation.

Game-changer or marginal play?

Automation offers clear benefits to both consumers and retailers. By solving the challenges they encounter and creating a positive experience, it can entice shoppers back into stores, thus staving off competition from digital natives while reducing costs and making employees more productive.

Automation is a game-changer for retailers that prioritize it as a strategic imperative, view it through consumers’ eyes, learn from their data, build an automation operating model, and secure employees’ buy-in through training and reskilling. For the rest, it is merely a marginal play.

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Report – Smart Stores

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Infographic – Smart S...

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Sound Bites

Sacha Berendji, Retail – operations and property director at Marks & Spencer

Our customers – especially those who come to us for lunch – are so busy, any tech that can speed up the shopping experience is a massive benefit to them.

Michael Suswal co-founder and COO at Standard Cognition

It’s largely a moral issue for us – we just think companies should not take private information unless customers are opting in and getting paid for it. This decision really changed the way we decided to go about our research and our implementation of that research. This is because we had to create a system that did not use any facial recognition or collect biometric data. There is not a political party or faction in the world that we have encountered that says, ‘we want less data privacy.’

Key Takeaways


of consumers who have previously visited stores with automation would shift purchases to a store with automation technologies if they had a positive experience


of consumers believe that automation can improve their shopping experience by solving the challenges they face when they shop in retail stores, such as long queues for checkout and payment


of consumers overall prefer to shop with retailers that use automation technology to reduce food waste