Retailers and consumers are on different page despite significant investments in enhancing customer experience online and in-store, says a recent report. 73 per cent of retail executives believe that overall environment in retail stores has become more inviting in past 5 years, agreed by only 45 per cent of consumers with 19 per cent saying it has decreased.
The report prepared by NetSuite in partnership with Wakefield Research and The Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs, surveyed 1,200 consumers and 400 retail executives from three global markets in US, UK and Australia.
“73 per cent of retail executives believe that the overall environment in retail stores has become more inviting in the past 5 years. Only 45 per cent of consumers agree, with 19 per cent stating it has become less inviting,” said the report by Netsuite.
“80 per cent of retail executives believe that consumers would feel more welcome if instore staff interacted with them more. Less than half (46 per cent) of consumers agree, with 28 per cent noting they would feel more annoyed. 79 per cent of retail executives believe chatbots are meeting consumer needs. Two thirds of consumers (66 per cent) disagree, with respondents noting that chatbots are currently more damaging to the shopping experience than helpful. Almost 98 per cent of retail executives think that engaging with customers on social media is important to building stronger relationships with them, agreed by a very low percentage of consumers (only 12 per cent),” the report added.
Nearly all (97 per cent) of consumers agree there is a need to go into a physical store to purchase items and the majority (70 per cent) believe that the most appealing retail stores have features that simplify and streamline the shopping experience. The top technology advancements that consumers want to utilise when shopping in store or online are self-checkout kiosks (38 per cent), virtual reality try-on (23 per cent) and mobile payments (15 per cent).
The report concluded that consumer expectations are rapidly changing which is making it incredibly hard for retailers to keep up. While the retail industry is often considered to be at the forefront of consumer experience innovation, there is still a long way to go to meet shopper expectations. The tech chosen for utilisation in a business needs to be adaptable and agile to succeed. Building personalisation, shopper loyalty and trust comes through embracing the technologies that are going to grow with a business and live up to the change that today’s on-demand economy requires of the business.