If you have any doubt that shoppers have changed the way they shop, you’re just not paying attention. Today’s shoppers are comfortable with technology and seamlessly navigate across all channels and touchpoints as they embark on their shopping journeys.
That is if retailers and brands are structured and operationalized in ways that allow shoppers seamless navigation.
RetailNext recently commissioned a study from Forrester Consulting to evaluate the in-store customer experience and retail’s digital capabilities. After conducting in-depth surveys with 500 consumers and 150 retail decision makers in the United States and United Kingdom, two findings rose to the top:
- Consumer and retailer perceptions and expectations are not aligned (and in many cases, aren’t even close)
- Many retail stores lack the technology to measure and harness shopper data across channels
The findings of the study suggest that stores of the very near future will be powered by real-time analytics and other technologies that not only convey an understanding of shopper behaviors across their entire shopping journey, but also empower store associates to deliver consistent, relevant and personalized in-store shopping experiences.
- Physical retail is alive and persisting – and increasingly influenced by digital. Today’s new shopping journeys recognize the value of physical retail and its particular set of competitive advantages, such as the ability to experience products and services and interact with sales associates. However, shoppers also require seamless cross-channel experiences, and only 49 percent of consumer respondents feel they receive consistent experiences across all channels.
- Retailers don’t understand what matters most to shoppers. Retailers are experiencing a disconnect between strategy and tactics and what shoppers want most, such as consistent pricing across channels and the ability to make returns regardless of the channel where the initial purchase was made. Seventy-nine percent of shoppers reported pricing consistency as a critical or important requirement, while just 52 percent of retailers agreed.
- The role of the sales associate is evolving. Today’s digitally-empowered, smartphone-wielding shoppers expect on-demand sales associates who are facilitators of exceptional shopping experiences. However, just 29 percent of consumer respondents feel sales associates are knowledgeable and helpful.
- Retailers are not measuring customer behavior, especially in-store. Retailers understand and agree that in-store technology drives both operational excellence and the overall digital customer experience. However, retailers overwhelmingly struggle to measure customer behavior, and surprisingly few reported the use of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics in-store, with only 33 percent of retailers reporting they always measure conversion rates.
For the full findings of the study, download your free copy of the Forrester report, “Real-Time Data Drives the Future of Retail,” today.
Join the #inspiringretail conversation on Twitter @RayHartjen and @RetailNext, as well as at www.facebook.com/retailnext.