Thursday, May 30, 2024

Consumers demand revolution, not evolution from retailers

Australian data from IBM’s 2015 Global Smarter Consumer study reveals that while Australia’s affinity for online shopping is growing, so too is the expectation gap between consumers and their primary retailers.

The study shows that consumer confidence and their willingness to spend more have significantly increased. However, the lack of personalised service offerings across a number of consumer touch points is driving a decline in engagement and loyalty to a retailer.

Of the 1,800 Australians surveyed, the empowered consumer now expects digital solutions that enhance service, more flexibility in areas such as returns and digital loyalty programs. This means shoppers today are leaving retailers who fall short on delivering a seamless, in-store and online experience.

“This presents great opportunities and mounting pressure for retailers to deliver a revolution in the shopping experience, rather than incremental change,” Retail Council CEO Anna McPhee said.

“The convergence of digital and physical retail channels is being driven by consumer desire for more convenience, and it’s up to retailers to deliver a seamless service. Doing things smarter and faster requires agile thinking and organisations are working to improve mobile, online and in-store fulfilment.”

The ability to see if an item is in stock before a shopper goes to the store was among the most appealing capabilities that would drive a consumer to switch, with 57 per cent of consumers agreeing they would switch to a retailer who could provide this information.

Consumers also expect retail assistants to be able to resolve inventory issues, with more than 50 per cent of respondents citing this capability as a differentiator in the selection of a retailer.

The survey confirmed that shoppers are increasingly comfortable with sharing their location, social media habits, mobile number and email information with a trusted retailer. The proportion of consumers willing to share location information has grown substantially from just 14 per cent a year ago to 24 per cent in 2015 while 28 per cent of respondents see the benefit in the exchange of personal information for things such as customised offers and better services.

Looking to the future, 30 per cent of respondents indicated they would like to see the introduction of home sensors which could generate shopping lists automatically based on low stock, and 25 per cent were interested in the ability to upload wardrobe pictures to receive purchase recommendations. Other popular concepts included 3D shopping environments at home (25 per cent), and subscription offerings to ship frequently purchased products automatically (24 per cent).

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