Most consumers wish retailers met their needs when buying items in-store, online or on smartphones.
A recent Omnico Group survey, “Omnico Retail Gap Barometer,” revealed that 96 percent of consumers said that retailers didn’t know what they wanted and only 4 percent of consumers agreed that retailers knew their preferences when they shopped on particular channels. If retailers revised their omnichannel strategies, they would meet consumers’ demands and remain relevant in today’s competitive digital marketplace.
Although consumers awarded retailers a score of 72 percent for interaction quality and a score of 62 percent for seamless experience, their satisfaction dropped greatly when more channels were present. Only 39 percent of consumers said that they had a seamless purchasing process with the inclusion of phones, mobile apps and social media. Seventy-four percent of consumers also said that touchpoint functionality and convenience determined which channels they used to buy goods. Stores remain the top purchasing destination for consumers (43 percent) and a mere 9 percent of consumers preferred buying products online and picking them up at a physical location,
“Shoppers now expect to hop between online and physical stores and have the same experience across every channel,” Omnico Group CEO Mel Taylor said. “While it’s clear that the store experience is still king, many retailers are then diluting the quality of the experience they offer as they expand into more channels and touchpoints.”
Consumers today are frustrated with retailers about many factors, including stock availability and return policy.
When shopping, 40 percent of consumers said that the retailer was unable to determine stock availability, which made it difficult to locate particular products. Despite the fact that 62 percent of consumers agreed that retailers were effective in stocking availability online, 50 percent of them also felt that the experience was okay or disappointing when combined with other channels. Due to the lack of integrated legacy systems, retailers may have to find other alternatives to bring together different channels for better shopping experiences.
Returning products was also a problem for many consumers. Forty percent felt that goods should be returnable across all channels, regardless of where they were purchased. More than three quarters of consumers (84 percent) also reported that free return policies determined their buying decisions. To improve the returning process for consumers, retailers may want to offer more options, including returning online items in-store and an expedited shipping service, in case items need to be sent back.
“With these challenges overcome retailers can consistently and coherently deliver the same personalized brand experience across their channels,” Taylor said. “Ignoring these issues retailers face irreversible brand damage and will lose market-share as shoppers go elsewhere.”