customer expectations


Australian retailers are failing to meet shoppers’ expectations when it comes to the in-store experience, according to a new survey.

The study from Manhattan Associates found three in four consumers are frustrated by an inconsistent retail experience. Here’s where retailers are going wrong:

1. Omnichannel operations

Over 81 per cent of respondents said they expect the same high-quality retail experience whether they are shopping in-store or online. However, just 14 per cent said they actually enjoy such an experience.

2. Sales staff

Shoppers also said they want knowledgeable, helpful store associates. This is particularly important as 46 per cent rated in depth product advice as their top reason for visiting a store. Unfortunately, 78 per cent said they feel they often know more about a product than a store staff member.

Other reasons consumers said they visited a bricks-and-mortar store was to get the product right away and to try before buying.

3. Loyalty points

Loyalty was another sticking point, with customers expecting that their total lifetime value be recognised and rewarded by retailers.

The stand-out way to generate loyalty was seen as offering a connected, reliable service. Other approaches customers said they appreciated include using a rewards scheme that gives exclusive promotional offers and providing fast delivery.

4. Personal picks

Half of consumers want store associates to give them expert personalised advice, just as they would receive while shopping online with ‘you may also like’ recommendations. If a product is not available in-store, 42 per cent of respondents said they would like the sales staff to check availability in nearby stores while 19 per cent said they would like the staff to order the product for them.

Some good news

Although the survey showed consumers found many retailers wanting, Raghav Sibal, Manhattan Associates managing director, Australia and New Zealand said shoppers were willing to reward retailers who met their expectations.

“Consumers clearly have an expectation of what a retail experience should look like in today’s digital world and are willing to offer their loyalty [to] retailers able to meet that expectation,” he said.

“Now is the time for retailers to invest in technologies that keep them ahead of the curve and take the appropriate steps required to close the gap between customer expectation and reality. Those that do will be the ones who will thrive in 2017 and beyond.”


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