hybris (now SAP Customer Experience) commissioned a survey of more than 500 consumers in the U.S., across varied income levels and ages, with an equal distribution of genders. The survey found that over 80 percent of the responders were more likely to become loyal customers to retailers who provide an integrated multichannel experience.
The importance of online and mobile strategies was seen to be rapidly increasing, with more than a third of consumers (39%) reporting that they make more purchases online than in-store. Looking ahead to the holiday shopping season, 46 percent said they planned to increase their online shopping during the holidays, while only eight percent indicated they would increase in-store shopping.
Integrated multichannel experience: Every channel and engagement matters
According to the survey, U.S. consumers are shopping a variety of channels and devices, often simultaneously, as new technology is introduced. Shoppers now routinely expect that their favorite retailers will be accessible to them anytime, anywhere, via any channel. The study examined consumer shopping behavior and preferences across a variety of channels, devices and product categories to identify the key features that shoppers look for in a multichannel shopping experience.
When asked to rank desired features in a multichannel retail experience:
- Almost half (45%) of respondents indicated that in-store pickup options for online purchases were most important.
- Nearly a third (28%) of consumers selected in-store returns for online purchases as most valuable.
- Eighty-two percent of respondents would shop again at a retailer who accepted in-store returns for online purchases, and 73 percent were more likely to become a repeat customer if a store offered in-store pickup. Only a third of these consumers believed that retailers were currently offering both.
A gap was discovered between consumer expectations and retailer offerings, especially for mobile. Participants indicated they would be more likely to return to those stores that distributed personalized offers (40%), or in-store mobile promotions (42%), but nearly half of them believed retailers did not currently have those capabilities. The study also identified specific factors that would potentially impact the likelihood of a consumer following through with a purchase online.
The most important factors for following through with an online purchase:
- Easy navigation (59%)
- Simple checkout process (57%)
- Presence of product images (42%)
The most important factors that might deter an online purchase were:
- Shipping costs (47%)
- Out of stock items (28%)
- Lack of product images (23%)
Since consumers demonstrated relatively strong price sensitivity, retailers should consider store-based fulfillment strategies such as buy online and pick up in store. In addition to omnichannel retailing strategies eliminating barriers to purchasing, they also present opportunities for retailers to sell more, once they attract customers into stores.