According to a new ETailing study, OmniChannel Consumer Insights 1st Annual Survey, in cooperation with B2C partners, to provide a “consumer-facing” evaluation of shopping experiences, most shoppers identify themselves as multi-channel, with 38% using a combination of channels to complete their shopping. 32% store-only and 29% web-only single-channel shoppers are also a factor. Only 18% identify themselves as mobile-only, though with accelerating mobile adoption, this segment will likely see strong growth, says the report.
Lauren Freedman, President, the e-tailing group, emphasizes that “…the omnichannel opportunity is unrealized… significant gaps exist between what shoppers expect and what retailers are currently delivering… well-heeled retailers are making the necessary and right investments to allow shoppers to easily shift channels… but the promise of omnichannel has not been fully realized…”
From consistency in execution, inventory transparency and cross-channel profile access to in-store use of technology, consumers have come to realize how valuable sophisticated execution can be for expediting their shopping experiences.
Shoppers appreciate and understand channel tradeoffs and make their choices accordingly. A series of statements were provided to participants that exposed both sides of the shopping equation (store and online):
I enjoy the efficiency of shopping online combined with the touch and feel of the retail store experience
The web allows me to thoroughly research my purchases but I still find a knowledgeable associate helpful in making final shopping decisions
So many products are complicated to purchase, so understanding how they work or trying them on is important, and can be better realized when visiting a physical store
The web helps me zero in on items using search tools, yet sometimes I can get a quicker overview of products when I visit a physical store
While speed and efficiency are important, I still enjoy the excitement of shopping at a physical store
Though the web saves me time when shopping I also like to take advantage of the services physical stores can offer (alterations, repairs, etc.)
While I welcome the convenience of shopping online, sometimes it’s just easier/more efficient to have the product sent to the physical store for pickup
The web helps me identify where products are available locally but I still prefer to make my purchases at the physical store
The options available on the web can overwhelm me at times so I prefer to shop a more edited assortment at a local physical store
Source: ETailing Group, October 2015
The tactile needs of shoppers still leans in favor of the store from a convenience and confidence building scenario, yet from a digital perspective the research prowess of the web is difficult to match. 84% of shoppers identify themselves as “self-service” while 56% find themselves needing some help along their shopping journey.
Shoppers expect consistency across channels:
Mobile also means in-store access, and this is one area where desires and expectations are not in line with what shoppers are experiencing when they visit their favorite retailers, says the report. The challenge that retailers face is that experiencing these technologies in–store is only a factor for 1 in 4 shoppers at best, highlighting a gap that will need to be narrowed in the coming years to satisfy shopper expectations.
Topping the list of technologies seen as valuable plays to efficiency starting with tools that assist shoppers in finding the exact location of a product within the physical store (e.g. aisles/maps accessible on your mobile phone). Notifying a customer that an item in their cart is in-stock when they arrive in store is a win-win for both parties given that these products are top of mind (to the customer) while also optimizing the store’s inventory turns. The third highest ranking, and most valuable for almost 3 in 4 shoppers, was line-busting mobile device checkout, though a 51% gap existed here as well, says the report.
Valuable In-Store Mobile Preferred Technology by Consumers
Consumer Related Technology Benefitting Shoppers
Technology that assists shoppers in finding the exact location of a product within the physical store (aisles/maps may be accessible on your mobile phone)
Notification via mobile phone that an item in your cart is available/in-stock when you arrive at the store
Mobile devices for check out to avoid waiting in line
QR codes that you can scan to access prices, reviews and other product information
Ability to pay using a method beyond standard credit cards (PayPal, Apple Pay, MasterPass, Google Wallet, etc.)
In store text promotions (prompted while visiting the store to receive coupons or alerted of promotions that are taking place)
Access to an in-store device such as a kiosk that allows you to research products, purchase and/or access other information as needed
Store mode (option to view shopping from a pre-tailored set of options such as order history, rewards, favorites, etc.)
Clientelling (the ability for associates to work with you on product selection and education via tablets or smartphones)
Interactive tools to enhance the shopping experience accessible via associate’s tablet or smartphone
Digital signage to enhance the store shopping experience such as designing a room, learning about new products, etc.
Outfitting (the ability for associates to help select outfits or find related products for your existing wardrobe)
Having a store associate recognize you based on your smartphone profile
Source: ETailing Group, October 2015
In summary, the E-Tailing Group presents an Omnichannel Clout Checklist:
For additional information about the study, please visit here.