Not only do today’s shoppers expect a great service experience, they want it to be integrated and harmonised across all channels. According to recent research by Manhattan Associates, three quarters of shoppers say they expect a consistent cross-channel shopping experience, yet just 14 percent claim to enjoy such experiences. With 82 percent stating they expect their online experience to be duplicated in store, and 78 percent saying they feel they know more about the products and services in store than the store associate, it is clear where the consumer thinks retailers need to invest.
Furthermore, half of the consumers surveyed said they would like store assistants to make personal recommendations in the same way a website already recommends products they might like, indicating that personalisation within every selling channel – not just online – is high up on the consumer’s agenda.
The rewards for those retailers able to effectively provide customers with a consistent service experience across channels is potentially huge, with 56 percent of the consumers surveyed stating a seamless service capability as the main reason they would be willing to commit their loyalty to a retailer.
Other key findings include:
45 percent of consumers stated “a reward scheme that gives you exclusive promotional offers” and 35 percent stated “fast delivery” as key reasons they would stay loyal to a retailer
64% of consumers consider “free delivery” as the most important fulfilment option a retailer should offer as part of their online service proposition, ahead of any chargeable option
47 percent view “product advice” and 33 percent of consumers consider “checking stock availability” as the most important aspects of the service provided by store assistants
Regarding reasons consumers are more likely to go to a physical store rather than buying online, 62 percent of respondents said “to get the product there and then” and 53 percent stated “to try and feel the products before buying in-store”
As to what consumers would like to happen when they go into a store and the product is not available on the store shelf, 42 percent said “they would like the store assistant to check if it is available in a store nearby where they can collect it from” whilst 19 percent stated “they would like the store assistant to order the product for them and have it delivered to their home or to the same store for collection”
Consumers clearly have an expectation of what a retail experience should look like in today’s digital world and are willing to offer their loyalty in exchange for retailers able to meet that expectation. Now is the time for retailers to invest in technologies that keep them ahead of the curve and take the appropriate steps required to close the gap between customer expectation and today’s reality. Those that do will be the ones that will thrive in 2017 and beyond.
About Manhattan Associates
Manhattan Associates is a technology leader in supply chain and omni-channel commerce. Converging front-end sales with back-end supply chains, their software and platform technology drive both top-line growth and bottom-line profitability for customers. For more information visit www.manh.com.au.
The research by Manhattan Associates questioned 2,000 adults in Australia about their shopping experiences and expectations.