When it comes to smooth, cross-channel selling, retailers have a lot of work to do. A new study from Accenture finds that while 90% of consumers say they expect to be able to shop their favorite retailers in stores as well as online and via mobile phone, retailers are letting them down so far.
What U.S. consumers do want is a seamless experience, with 49% saying the smartest thing stores could do is better manage all three channels. While 94% say in-store shopping is a breeze, only 74% say online shopping is easy. And just 26% say they find it easy to shop via their mobile phone. (Still, 43% of U.S. shoppers plan to do more online, and 23% intend to shop more with their mobile phones.)
But while consumers would like that seamlessness, most retailers aren’t there, and consumers experience the shopping process as complicated and dragged-out. Pricing is an important issue: 73% expect a store’s online pricing to be the same as it is in physical stores; 61% expect the exact same items to be on sale. Yet previous Accenture research has found that only 16% of stores offer the same prices online as off.
And although 43% of consumers wish stores would carry a consistent product assortment, only 19% of stores do. In addition, 30% would like stores to use a crowd indicator, so they could know how busy a store is before getting there.
The study also found distinct preferences for what people consider cross-channel shopping, with 81% saying stores should let them pick up or arrange for delivery regardless of how they bought the item, 25% willing to wait as long as two weeks for free shipping, and 25% willing to pay more when they need an item the same day.
And so much for the threat of showrooming: While 73% of those in the survey consider themselves showroomers, researching products in stores before going home to buy them online, 88% engage in webrooming, or the reverse: They research items online, then go to physical stores to buy them.
When it comes to promotion, consumers say they are most influenced by in-store offers (49%) and email coupons (56%), but they hate online popup ads and mobile banner ads. Some 69% and 62%, respectively, say those ads would never influence what they buy.
Accenture, a global consulting firm, says it included 6,000 adults in the research, including 750 from the U.S.