Not only do today’s shoppers expect great service experience, they want it to be integrated and harmonised across channels. According to recent research by Manhattan Associates, three quarters of shoppers say they expect consistent cross-channel shopping, yet just 14 per cent claim to enjoy such an experience today. With 82 per cent stating they expect the online service to be duplicated in store, and 78 per cent saying they feel they know more about the products and services in store than the store assistant, 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 consistent service across channels is potentially huge, with 56 per cent 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 per cent of consumers stated “a reward scheme that gives you exclusive promotional offers” and 35 per cent 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 per cent view “product advice” and 33 per cent 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 per cent of respondents said “to get the product there and then” and 53 per cent 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 per cent said “they would like the store assistant to check if it is available in a store nearby where they can collect it from”, while 19 per cent 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”.
Manhattan Associates managing director Australia and New Zealand Raghav Sibal commented: “Consumers clearly have an expectation of what retail 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.”