Retailers still not delivering omni-channel experience, says Accenture

Research by Accenture finds customers think retailers could provide a more unified approach across all platforms

Retailers are still not delivering the cross-platform experience that most customers expect, according to research by Accenture.

The survey found only 40% of customers feel it is easy to make purchases through mobile devices.

But retailers aren’t hitting the mark in-store either, as 38% of customers feel shopping experiences in bricks and mortar locations are in need of an upgrade.

“While physical and digital commerce is converging rapidly, UK retailers are still behind the curve in terms of their mobile and in-store offerings,” said Fiona O’Hara, managing director of Accenture’s UK Retail practice.

“The fact that UK shoppers want to check inventory on their mobiles, order out-of-stock products and have promotions sent to them while in-store, suggests immense potential for retailers to enhance investments in mobile applications that bridge a customer’s online and offline experience seamlessly.”

It has been made clear that customers expect a unified approach to retail, whether visiting a store or shopping online via desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile. Prices of products and promotions seen online are included in this, with 87% expecting the same prices across all channels, and over half of people wanting the same promotion opportunities in store as online.

The omni-channel trend has led to many retailers upgrading stores and moving towards a showroom strategy, whereby stores are an extension of the retailer’s digital offering.

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This means more customers are expecting to use their phones in-store, with 14% wanting to scan products in shops and 13% wanting promotions sent to their phones while in a shop.

But many stores are still not offering basic essentials to draw customers in and promote loyalty such as in-store Wi-Fi, which 15% of Accenture’s survey participants expected.

Capabilities such as click and collect are also becoming an expected standard, with 29% of out-of-hours shoppers using click-and-collect services. Some 21% of customers said they want to be able to order products that are out-of-stock while they are in-store.

Having these services in place is increasing the follow through on purchases, with more people choosing online delivery and click and collect or wanting the ability to use online services to reserve products in-store.

“Our findings clearly show that customers expect increasing cohesion of shopping experiences across all channels,” said O’Hara.

“Retailers need to take this into account when investing in sales-driving initiatives. Building capabilities such as digital marketing and analytics will become key in the next few years, to increase customer traffic and boost loyalty. We see a few retailers doing this already – and they are exhibiting a significant edge over their competitors.”

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