By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Retailers are concerned with the customers' needs when it comes to the omni-channel experience, and are streamlining the process as much as possible with technology installations in-store, implementing click to collect, and other features. However, despite these efforts, customers aren't satisfied with the performance of retailers, according to a new survey by Accenture, a consulting, technology and outsourcing service company. Accenture surveyed 750 U.S. consumers and performed an analysis of 32 U.S. retailers. The U.S. retailers were part of a global survey of 10,000 shoppers and 189 retailers. Accenture published the results on their website and announced them via press release on March 25, 2015.
The survey is known as the Seamless Retail Survey and examined how customers viewed shopping online and whether the integration of brick and mortar and online shopping was seamless by retailers. The survey focused on topics such as price, Wi-Fi access in store, delivery, click and collect, and mobile shopping.
Pricing Should Be Seamless
When it came to price, the survey found that an overwhelming number of respondents wanted consistent pricing across all channels. 82% expected the pricing to be the same in the retailer's store and online. The survey saw 69% answer the same last year, so 2015 brought a dramatic increase for the query. Accenture's benchmark analysis of retailers also found that 34% of retailers had the same pricing online and in their store for more than 80% of the merchandise items surveyed.
Stores Are Still First to the Consumer, But Retailers' Integration of All Channels Needs Work
The survey examined the gap between customers' needs and what retailers deliver to the omni-channel shopping experience, finding that while 53% of retailers surveyed have optimized their websites for tablets, only 28% of retailers have the ability to deliver real-time promotions on a mobile device. 32% of respondents also said that the second biggest improvement a retailer needs to make is to integrate all three sales channels in store, online, and mobile so that a customer can use them seamlessly.
The results show that stores are important to shopping for customer and that customers wanted the in-store experience greatly improved, with 39% of shoppers surveyed describing the store experience as needing the most improvement among all channels.” Shoppers also wanted more integration with their mobile shopping while in a retailer's store, with 36% indicating they would order out-of-stock items, 39% would earn loyalty points and participate in money-saving offers, and 45% would like real-time promotions. 42% of respondents indicated it was “easy” to complete their purchase on a mobile device. Customers also wanted an increase of technology in store, with 15% of respondents stating free Wi-Fi in-store as a recommended improvement to shopping a retailer's physical location.
“Physical and digital commerce are converging at an incredible pace,” says Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture's Retail practice. “The fact that many consumers use their mobile devices to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and are looking for real-time promotions to be sent to their phones means retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on the power of these devices. By investing in mobile applications and frictionless digital payment tools that incorporate loyalty, coupons and rewards in-store, retailers can provide a seamless bridge between customers’ online and offline experiences. All sales channels must be equally desirable to the consumer, so that the path to purchase is not chosen based on satisfaction in one channel over another, but simply on what is most convenient at that time.”