Some 80% of UK consumers believe retailers should be actively investing in technology to improve the shopping experience, according to research by Oracle Retail.
Of the technologies available, click and collect was considered extremely important to UK customers, with nearly 60% believing the service made shopping easier for them.
But the number of retailers offering a click and collect service has not risen much globally over the past year, with around 43% of worldwide retailers offering the capability of ordering online to collect from a store.
“Click and collect is by far their favourite way to tie the online world to their physical world, finding it much more convenient than home delivery,” said Sarah Taylor, senior director at Oracle Retail.
“The store is visited and frequented far more than any online shopping transaction.”
The role of the store is changing, with customers viewing it as a more convenient extension of their online experience.
Consumers are becoming more and more fickle as technology allows them to get what they want, where they want, whenever they want, which makes availability and convenience big drivers for customer loyalty.
Just over 40% of UK customers say their loyalty to a brand is directly affected by how convenient the retailer's multi-channel offering is, and 36% will never shop with a brand again if it disappoints them – much more forgiving than globally, where the percentage is almost half.
If consumers can’t find what they want, they have no qualms about shopping elsewhere, and 49% of UK customers will buy from a brand they have never interacted with before if it will offer them the experience they expect.
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“Consumers will go to quite lengthy endeavours to get what they want at the right price,” said Taylor. “Our British shopper will now go anywhere in the world to get what they want.”
Since the creation of self-service checkouts, there has been a rise in the number of consumers who want to fend for themselves in-store, with a quarter of customers worldwide preferring not to engage with store assistants when they shop.
This number is higher in the UK, with 35% not wanting to talk to a store employee and 34% claiming self-service kiosks improve the shopping experience.
“We’re becoming more private and self-sufficient,” said Taylor. “We really do want to be a self-service shopper.”
The social media-driven consumer
The younger generation of consumers interact with brands differently. Not only does this new group of shoppers not want to talk to a human being, but they will take to social media whenever they have a problem or complaint.
But 42% of global retailers questioned said they did not respond to enquiries put forward on social media, despite having a social media presence.
“We all know that Twitter is a way we like to lodge complaints, we think we’re going to get a rapid response,” said Taylor. “It’s detrimental to do something badly in a social environment rather than not do it at all.”