retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Accenture is out with a new study saying that "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 the report, "the Accenture Seamless 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."

Other findings from the study:

• "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."

• "Of the consumers who had showroomed in the six months prior to the survey, 41 percent said they are doing that more than they were the year before.  Additionally, the survey found that 43 percent of all U.S. consumers plan to shop more online and 23 percent plan to shop more with their mobile phones in the future."
 
• "When asked what kind of information it would be useful to have from their favorite retailers before going to a physical store, 82 percent of consumers selected having access to current product availability as their top choice. However, the Accenture research showed that this is offered by only 21 percent of retailers. The survey also found that 30 percent of shoppers want retailers to provide a crowd indicator that would allow them to know how busy the store is."

• "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 ... 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."
KC's View:
No surprises here, but wroth noting. The desire for a seamless experience encompassing physical and virtual stores will only grow greater, and it has to be a high priority for retailers, lest they be viewed as irrelevant.