In August 2012, Oracle commissioned new research to help retailers identify what today’s consumer wants from a shopping experience. The research aimed to support retailers in creating strategies and setting business priorities to meet consumer demand and compete more effectively in the global market.
Below are the top five lessons that retailers can take from the research findings:
1. The People in Your Store Are Your Brand
90% of respondents said that service was important to them, and more than half of respondents defined “good service” as having knowledgeable store associates - this is something retailers must get right. Store associates who are knowledgeable and approachable are an excellent way for consumers to access persuasive purchasing information.
The store associate also plays a critical part in defining a negative service. An average of 70% of respondents aligned bad service with poor associate knowledge, unfriendly or unhelpful associates. Even in a digital age, consumers remain highly sensitised to personal interactions with store associates.
2. Meet Your Customers’ Needs
Consumers want a retail experience that is ‘good for me’, that meets their requirements and expectations. To achieve this, retail supply chains must be integrated effectively and capable of managing complex fulfilment options that typically include home delivery and click and collect.
Consumers don’t care how their needs are being met – just whether they are or not. They want their experience to be simple and easy, with 52% of research respondents stating a simple returns policy, 52% stating flexible delivery options, and 61% stating product availability at the time of purchase as indicators of good service.
3. Innovate with Technology
Consumers want to make use of the latest technologies available to them. This creates a challenge for retailers who must move with the times to provide an experience desired by their customers.
The Evolution of Experience Retailing highlighted examples of this interest in the latest technologies with 67% of respondents wanting a fast and easy payment process, with options available around mobile point-of-service and self-service. Social media is also playing an increasing role in the retail experience, with 26% of global respondents following retailer social profiles and a third use social media channels to share their experiences.
4. Offer "Commerce Anywhere"
Consumers want to shop anytime and place with a retail experience that is ‘good for me’ in every aspect.
The global marketplace has changed the retail environment and encouraged consumers to engage with retailers from all over the world, with 76% of respondents declaring that the Internet offers no barriers to where they can shop.
This has resulted in increased competition and further highlights the need for retailers to deliver an experience that meets the needs of individual consumers. As consumers use multiple channels to research, compare and purchase goods, they are less concerned which channel they use - rather that this process is connected across all touch points, indicating the importance of developing a single view of the customer.
5. Get Personal
Over half of research respondents (54%) stated that personalisation was important to them, primarily defining this as receiving offers and discounts based on preferences (39%) and having access to a single shopping basket across channels (36%).
If retailers can get personalisation right, they can differentiate themselves and build a lasting relationship with their customers. Personalising the retail experience can only be achieved if retailers have a consolidated view of their data and therefore, their business. Currently, too many retailers are struggling to remove data from the many siloes and utilise it to inform decision-making.
However, it’s not just the responsibility of the retailers to unlock the secrets of their data. If retailers can persuade consumers to share personal information, they can tailor their offer to meet individual preferences. 45% of respondents stated that they would be happy to share personal information with a retailer. However, in exchange customers expected lower prices, a safe and secure shopping environment and exclusive offers pertinent to them. 51% wanted to receive order and delivery updates, 50% to receive latest service and product information and 44% wanted interaction only when instigated by themselves.
Evolution of Experience Retailing Methodology:
Our research interviewed men and women between 18 and 60 years old in Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UK and USA on their views to fundamental retail principles, including customer service, overall experience, preferences and shopping trends and attitudes to technology in the retail process.
The full findings of research are available on the Evolution of Experience Retailing microsite, and can be accessed through a range of resources, including a whitepaper, byline articles and fact sheets. A research infographic is also available.