Thursday, April 18, 2013

Study Shows U.S. Consumers Want a Seamless Shopping Experience Across Store, Online and Mobile that Many Retailers are Struggling to Deliver

Retailers that deliver on their customers’ expectations and provide them with a seamless shopping experience – whether they are shopping in a store, online or through a mobile device – will win their loyalty and gain a competitive advantage that drives sales, according to new research by Accenture.

Based on a poll of 750 consumers in the United States, and an analysis of how top retailers operate across multiple sales channels, the AccentureSeamless Retail Study found that half (49 percent) of consumers believe the best thing retailers can do to improve the shopping experience is to better integrate in-store, online and mobile shopping channels. An overwhelming 89 percent of consumers said it is important for retailers to let them shop for products in the way that is most convenient for them, no matter which sales channel they choose.

Consumers remain bullish on the in-store shopping experience: almost all survey participants (94 percent) found in-store shopping easy. They are less bullish, however, about their experience with other shopping channels: 74 percent said online shopping is easy, but only one-quarter (26 percent) found the mobile phone shopping experience easy.

 Choosing Channels for Seamless Shopping

Regardless of their original shopping touchpoint – in-store, online or mobile – consumers expect their interaction with retailers to be a customized, uncomplicated and instantaneous experience, according to the survey. The research also indicates that consistency weighs heavily on the consumer experience. For example, 73 percent of consumers expect a retailer’s online pricing to be the same as its in-store pricing, and 61 percent expect a retailer’s online promotions to be the same as its in-store promotions.

Yet, a benchmark analysis by Accenture of the top retailers globally indicated that while 73 percent offer the same promotions online as in the store, only 16 percent offer the same prices online as they do in the store. Additionally, while 43 percent of consumers surveyed expect a retailer to offer the same product assortment online as they do in the store, only 19 percent of retailers actually offer the same product assortment, according to Accenture’s analysis of top retailers.

“Showrooming” and “Webrooming” Are Here To Stay

The survey found that as online shopping continues to grow as a consumer preference, there is a mutually beneficial relationship between stores and online channels. For example, while in the six months prior to the survey, 73 percent of respondents indicated that they participated in the practice of “showrooming”, or browsing at least once in-store and then buying online, an even larger number – 88 percent – said they participated in “webrooming”, or browsing first on the internet then buying in-store.

The survey also highlighted the following findings:
  -- After purchasing, 81 percent said it is important for a retailer to enable them to pick up or arrange for delivery of their purchase regardless of how they paid for the item.

  --  One-quarter (25 percent) of survey respondents said they would be willing to wait a whole two weeks for free shipping.

  --  Other consumers are willing to pay for speed and convenience: 24 percent said it is important for retailers to offer same-day delivery, including 30 percent who are willing to pay $5-$10 and 19 percent who are willing to pay $11-$20 for same-day delivery.

  -- The ability to offer a range of different fulfillment capabilities is something offered by just over half (56 percent) of retailers; however, only one quarter (26 percent) have a same day delivery capability
  --  When respondents were asked what they would do if a retailer has a product they want but it was outside normal business hours, 39 percent said they would wait until the morning for the store to open to purchase, 36 percent would buy it online from that retailer, 22 percent would search for the best price and buy the product somewhere online.

   --  49 percent surveyed are influenced by in-store offers (via promotional displays, salespeople, etc.), 56 percent are influenced by email coupons and offers and an equal amount of respondents say they are influenced by coupons mailed to their home.
-- 69 percent and 62 percent respectively said that online pop-up ads and mobile banner ads would never influence their purchasing.
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