Stores remain key driver of multichannel customer satisfaction
Sterling Commerce, an AT&T company, has announced the results of its annual research into consumer behaviour across retail channels. The online study conducted by Ipsos MORI and carried out across 1,000 consumers from the UK, France, Germany and Sweden, found that the store remains key to customer satisfaction and can play a role in increasing sales.
Sterling Commerce, an AT&T company, has announced the results of its annual research into consumer behaviour across retail channels.
The online study conducted by Ipsos MORI and carried out across 1,000 consumers from the UK, France, Germany and Sweden, found that the store remains key to customer satisfaction and can play a role in increasing sales.
The survey found that considerable revenue opportunities lie in offering the ability to order out-of-stock products, with 72% of respondents stating that it was vital or useful for in-store staff to be able to order out-of-stock products and have them delivered to their home or local store. Across the three retail segments surveyed (apparel, consumer electronics and DVDs/books/music) the results were highest for consumer electronics with 81% of consumers across all countries expecting this service.
David Hogg, Sterling Commerce retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketing manager in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region said: "With promotions increasing in frequency to encourage consumers to continue spending, retailers are experiencing 'out of stock' more frequently. However, cross-channel customers are much more comfortable with the idea of the store ordering products currently out-of-stock rather than walking away empty handed to a competitor's store. Retailers therefore need to be sure that they are using the correct technology to capture these demands, as the right technology can provide a fundamental revenue-boosting opportunity."
The research also highlighted additional opportunities for retailers to draw their customers into their stores. For example, almost half (48%) of online shoppers want to collect or return an item at a local store. And, when shopping online, 16% of consumers across all countries choose to 'click and collect' i.e. the ability to order online and collect in-store. This result was highest amongst the apparel sector, with an average of 24% wanting online apparel orders to be delivered to the store where customers can collect them at their convenience.
The research also revealed that a third of consumers who choose to buy online stated that it is either vital or useful to be able to return any unwanted or faulty items in-store, where they are likely to go on to make replacement purchases.
"Although most retailers now offer a multi-channel platform to consumers, it's important to be aware of all trends in cross channel purchasing and returns," continued Hogg. "We are seeing a trend towards online shopping, but revenue opportunities still lie within the store, as in-store staff can convert returns into in-store purchases rather than a refund, or order replacement items that appear out-of-stock online.
"In these tighter economic times, it is more important than ever that retailers focus on customer loyalty and maximise all revenue opportunities by offering options such as click and collect and in-store returns. The financial loss of not offering these is something that no retailer can risk," he concluded.