Don’t believe the 5G hype. Brits still won’t shop on the go

Don’t believe the 5G hype. Brits still won’t shop on the go

The potential for 5G to revolutionise the way people shop on the go is unlikely, according to research by GlobalData.

It surveyed 10,000 UK online shoppers and found that 65% prefer to browse products on their smartphones and then make purchases on a laptop or desktop at home. James Yacoub, Analyst at GlobalData, observes: “Consumers have reservations about shopping when outside of homes or work, for reasons including security, storage issues and poor imagery.”

Although there is potential for 5G mobile technology to impact retail, it will have patchy coverage in its early stages and with only a handful of compatible (and very expensive) phones, usage will be restricted in the short-term.

At the same time, however, 5G is not just about faster download speeds, it is also about lower latencies i.e. computer networks that are optimised to process a very high volume of data with minimal delay, which could allow retailers to use real-time technology to collect data on shoppers’ habits. This is then used to optimise pricing strategy, predict future demand and even visual merchandising.

Lower latency can also help retailers implement Internet of Things-based projects effectively, for example, smart shelves that use sensors can keep a real-time track of stock, and can communicate to logistics when a product is low, thereby simplifying the overall stock control process.

Lower latency and increased bandwidth will be a huge boost to technologies associated with customer engagement such a virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and gamification, GlobalData believes. With reliance on 4G, these technologies are often limited in practical use, and the UX is often slow and lagging which defeats the purpose when the emphasis is on immersion and virtual experiences.

Yacoub concludes: “With 5G, retailers will be able to unlock the full potential of these new technologies, transforming them from mere gimmicks to useful tools, enhancing the overall customer journey.”

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