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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Convenience and speed influence consumers

Friday March 30 2012

Survey finds price is still king, but ‘rapid retailing’ expectations increasingly influence buying behaviour

C&WW_Rapid_Retailing_InfographicSurvey finds price is still king, but ‘rapid retailing’ expectations increasingly influence buying behaviour


A new survey has found that, while price still has the most important influence on when and where consumers shop, many are willing to pay a premium for immediate access to goods instore.


The survey of nearly 2,000 UK adults, carried out by YouGov and commissioned by Cable&Wireless Worldwide (C&WW), for found that convenience and speed had become more important factors in the shopping decision.


Supported the fast consumer adoption of digital technologies, including mobile, the C&WW survey report dubbed the subsequent trend “rapid retailing”. Diane McAuliffe, Cable&Wireless Worldwide retail, leisure and logistics director, spoke exclusively to Retail Technology about this shift.


“While we have a long history of working with retailers, we decided to take an ‘outside-in’ approach with this survey based on the impact of technology in retail and the issues customers face in traditional and more recent, technology-driven shopping environments,” she explained.


Technology blurs channel boundaries


McAuliffe said technology had blurred traditional channel boundaries for consumers, where they expect to be able to maintain consistent interaction and experiences with a retailer as they switch between online, mobile and store channels. If they don’t expect instant access to products, they at least expect to be able access product information immediately, otherwise they will go to another retailer.


For example, a third (30%) of those surveyed used their mobile phone instore to speed up their buying decisions and 40% ranked ‘items in stock’ as the most important criteria for shopping on the High Street. Nearly half (46%) of online shoppers said they would switch to another retailer’s website if they experienced more than a 30-second delay. And nearly 75% expected deliveries to arrive within two days of order.


“Unsurprisingly price was most relevant,” McAuliffe added. “But we also discovered consumers are willing to pay a premium for speed and convenience. But this offers more opportunity for the retailer, in terms of being able to track the customer journey, tailor the experience and maximise product availability.”


For example she pointed out that, in physical stores, more than half would need to save 10% or more to prompt them to leave and complete the purchase in another store. Similarly, one fifth will pay a 10% premium to have the goods immediately, rather than buy cheaper online and wait for delivery.


[See above figure, where retail arbitrage figures are represented by category – from left to right – as electrical, household, fashion and entertainment.]


Consistently connecting with customers


McAuliffe said CWW will use the research to inform its 'RETAIL 20|20 proposition,' which designed to increase business agility, deliver enhanced customer experiences, improve supply chain efficiency and drive out unnecessary costs. “We’re hearing increasingly at board level that multichannel integration is becoming key,” she said.


The C&WW retail director added that it already had an extensive partner network to supply cloud offerings, instore Wi-Fi in support of its existing network infrastructure services and that it was in discussions with electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) vendors to bolster its portfolio for further multichannel integration of stores at kiosks or other PoS.


“Our connected customer, multichannel agile and network infrastructure solutions are designed to meet the needs of retailers today,” she concluded. “It’s all about integrating the channels – the call centre, online, mobile and stores – to respond to the way customers want to shop.”