News Feature | August 29, 2017

Customers' Omnichannel Retail Expectations Revealed

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Optimizing Technology Enablement: How it Benefits Customer Lifetime Value

Delivery speed, convenience, and service top their demands from retailers.

A new study from Radial and CFI Group has demonstrated that retailers who meet rising fulfillment, customer experience and payment and fraud expectations will win the loyalty race. The survey of 500 random shoppers found that:

  • 78 percent of consumers want retailers to offer in-store pickup
  • 74 percent of consumers expect a customer service response within 1-2 days
  • 87 percent of consumers are concerned about having their credit card data stolen

When asked what an acceptable delivery timeframe was, just 10 percent of shoppers answered 7-10 days, while 54 percent said 4-6 days, and 36 percent said 3 days or fewer. Speed is obviously of great concern to most shoppers.

However, when cost is a factor in the speed of shipping, shoppers were much more flexible about waiting longer for their purchases. The study found that 44 percent would wait a bit longer for packages shipped economy vs. standard shipping rates, while 47 percent said it would greatly depend on how much time it added to the delivery window. Just 9 percent said that they would willingly select a more expensive standard shipping rate to ensure faster delivery of their orders.

And free shipping is such an important draw for consumers that 87 percent said they are willing to spend more money on purchases in order to qualify for free shipping. Since that means that retailers must absorb shipping costs, they need to find the appropriate balance between higher average order values and customer loyalty.

Shoppers also expect notification of anticipated delivery windows, and 37 percent said that when a retailer does not provide that information they will shop with a competitor instead. This data underscores the importance of delivery transparency, regardless of the delivery window.

And retailers not only need to offer options like in-store pickup for online orders, they need to ensure that those processes work efficiently to fill those orders. The consequence for failure to fulfill orders is the potential not only for a lost customer, but also for those customers to take to social media to voice their discontent. The survey found that 75 percent of respondents who post about their bad experiences on social media expect a response from the retailer, with 66 percent saying it should be the same day as the posting, while 30 percent expects a response by the following day.

The study found that ease of communication is critical for consumers, regardless of reason, and just 17 percent of customers said that they do not follow up with retailers to determine the status of their orders. That means that live shipment tracing across all channels is crucial for retailers in order to drive customer satisfaction and create efficiency in customer service.

Ultimately, the study found, “today’s consumers expect retailers to offer more comprehensive fulfillment options, easily accessible service agents with a social media presence, and a secure checkout and fraud prevention process that keeps them secure. Ultimately, it’s the innovative retailers that can deliver on these ever-growing expectations which will ultimately win the competitive omnichannel commerce game.”