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Almost half of consumers want an in-store ‘try before you buy’ option before they buy online

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Almost half of consumers want an in-store ’try before you buy’ service before purchasing from an online store that’s easy to navigate, a new study suggests.

The ease-of-use is vital to 71% of the surveyed Baby Boomers generation (+55), and 61% believe that a frustrating online experience “hurts” their opinion of the retailer, 38% saying that they would “unlikely” to buy from a retailer who has a poor mobile user-experience, with 43% wanting to try and see items in store before purchasing them online. Some 1,125 US adults participated in the study, Four pillars of customer loyalty.

“Today’s consumers – namely millennials and Gen X – have reached ‘peak stuff,’ says Mike Austin, co-founder and chief executive officer of Fresh Relevance.

“Because they have everything they need and can access anything they want with the click of a button, shoppers quickly turn to a competitor if a retailer is difficult to do business with or treats them just like one in a crowd.”

The research also found that 22% of shoppers were more likely to stay loyal to retailers that offer amenities like personal stylists and makeovers, with the same percentage of millennials, saying that unique experiences would make them purchase. Overall, other services hold the key to customer loyalty including free returns (69%), free two-day shipping (68%) and free pickup for returns (65%) as well as in-store returns at any location for online purchases (55%) and the same-day shipping (42%).

One in four (17%) of respondents said that ’scan and go’, an Amazon-like service is a critical option, while 26% of the same cohort with children under 18 considered it essential due to their tight schedules. In addition, only 9% want a drone delivery.

When it comes to personalised communication, 28% of consumers said they were more likely to be loyal to the brand that sends them tailored messages, and 25% wanted to be sent product recommendations based on their purchase history. More than a quarter (26%) wanted retailers to differentiate when they shop for someone else so that they don’t send them irrelevant product notifications. On the other hand, 35% of the participants think that calling customers by their first name is irrelevant, with 41% saying that they would leave a retailer if they were to inundate them with messages.

“Personalisation is the secret to forging repeat, long-term relationships – the key to profitability,” adds Austin.

“Effectively using customer data to build out a tailored marketing strategy around the four pillars of loyalty (convenience, experiences, services and communications) will ensure that shoppers feel valued and satisfied at every touchpoint – resulting in repeat, long-term customers.”

Image credit: Fotolia

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