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Retailers need to up game

News, 20 November 2015

SAN FRANCISCO: As the peak holiday shopping season approaches a new report suggests that retailers have to up their game both on and offline if they are to offer a seamless consumer experience and attract happy shoppers.

The 2015 Connected Shoppers Report from CRM business Salesforce was based on a survey of 2,046 adults at the end of October 2015. It explored their attitudes, habits and use of technology as part of the shopping experience and concluded that retailers need to accelerate digital transformations to provide personalized, one-to-one customer journeys.

There were several areas in which a gap between consumer wishes and expectations was evident. For example, almost a third (31%) of in-store shoppers said they wanted store associates to know what they had previously purchased in the store or online, but only 10% expected this to actually happen.

In fact, half of consumers who shop in-store indicated they would be more likely to shop at a retailer based on the technology that store associates use to assist them. But many retailers are still falling short in equipping associates with this ability, the report said.

With the majority of in-store shoppers (82%) having researched products online first, nearly half (48%) believed that they typically know more about a retailer's product than the store associate. Just over a quarter (28%) even agreed that robots could replace store associates.

Among younger shoppers – and millennials are a trillion-dollar market for retailers, Salesforce noted – almost two thirds (61%) were ready to trade personal data for a better shopping experience.

And just over one third (36%) said they would like retailers to know who they are when they walk into stores with location-based technologies.

"Retailers are no longer just competing with the store down the block during the holidays. They're competing with Amazon," said Shelley Bransten, svp/retail, Salesforce.

"Brick-and-mortar brands that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds have the best chance of thriving during the holidays--and beyond," she added.

Data sourced from Salesforce; additional content by Warc staff