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80% of consumers are unfulfilled by omni-channel, with mobile experience letting the side down, study suggests

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UK retailers are missing out on consumers’ huge appetite for joined-up shopping because they’re not yet geared up to keep pace with changing buying habits, according to research from digital customer experience agency Rockpool.

Near-universal mobile phone access, social media and the birth of the Internet of Things are hampering attempts by retailers to create a truly omnichannel customer shopping experience. Personalisation is crucial to success, but according to the survey a massive 80% of customers still don’t see evidence of it in their on- and offline shopping visits.

Rockpool’s report, ‘Omnichannel: the future of department store retailing’, outlines findings from the survey of 1,000 consumers, identifying common attitudes about the total retail experience. The results shed light on the state of omnichannel retail and show that consumers are seeking solutions to their frustrating interactions with retailers.

The survey reveals that online and physical options remain critical to consumer buying options, with 63% of respondents compared prices online before buying in-store, while 40% take cues from online reviews.

Try before you buy still appeals, with 78% reporting that they like to touch a product when in-store and 59% still want to try before they buy. However, digital and in-store lack consistency for 64% who reported inconsistent pricing between online and in-store outlets. As part of a qualitative element to the research, one respondent observed: “In most cases, the digital and in-store experiences [of the same retailer] are disconnected and feel like separate shops entirely”.

When it comes to buying, computer is king and in-store is second in line, with 80% purchasing products on their PC and 76% prefer to buy in-store.

Mobile experience still has a way to go – only a third of respondents rated the mobile shopping experience as ‘fantastic’ or even ‘good’.

Potentially worrying is that customer service is becoming faster, however it is not always joined up across channels – 56% reveal customer service representatives had been unable to access their personal information collected through other channels.

Bruce Griffin, CEO and founder of Rockpool Digital, explains: “One thing is crystal clear – customers feel unfulfilled by the combined shopping experience offered across channels. If retailers want to survive in a customer-centric age, they need to improve their approach across the entire customer journey.”

Griffin continues: “Retailers are missing an opportunity. Consistent product ranges and pricing across channels creates an ecosystem that encourages customer loyalty. To cut through and keep consumers happy, retailers should embrace a strategy that is much more flexible, intuitive and cohesive. Only then will they provide the personalised shopping environment that the vast majority of people say is missing.”

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