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Four ways retailers can improve the customer experience: research

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Research studies from Capgemini and IBM into the customer experience provide food for thought this week. Here are some of the key opportunities that the studies identify.

An instore experience that incorporates online convenience

Four in 10 shoppers say in-store shopping is a chore – and one that is less appealing than washing the dishes, according to a report from Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute, Making the digital connection: why physical retail stores need a reboot. It questioned 6,000 consumers and five retail executives from nine countries, including the UK, and found that while 81% of retail executives see the store as important only 45% of consumers agree.

Nontheless, consumers believe that stores still have a role in their lives, found Capgemini , since 70% still want to touch and feel products before they buy. They not only expect to see the same features that they find online implemented in-store, but also want more incentives. For example 75% of consumers want to check if stock is available before going instore, and 73% expect same day delivery of products purchased in-store. More than half (57%) want retailers to offer more than simply selling the product and for them to provide social spaces, learning experiences and inspiration, such as cooking or DIY workshops while 68% expect loyalty points for spending time in store and repeat visits and 61% want store memberships that offer lower prices.

IBM’s Customer Experience Study looked at more than 500 brands in 24 countries and found that 84% did not offer in-store mobile services.

Consumers are open to new ways to buy

The Capgemini study found that consumers are open to new retail models that reduce their reliance on traditional retailers. More than half would buy directly from manufacturers in the future (57%) or from technology players such as Google, Apple and Facebook (59%) if they partnered with local retailers for last-mile delivery. Overall, 71% of consumers would consider bypassing traditional retailers, especially in in China, where well over three quarters (87%) of respondents would consider alternatives.

The Generation Z opportunity

An IBM Institute for Business Value Uniquely Generation Z study of 15,000 shoppers identified Generation Z as an emerging buying group, with a combined $44bn to spend. And although they very much lead digital lives, 98% of this group still shop in store, while 66% often use more than one device on their customer journey. The study found this group demands highly personalised interactions, values quality over price and wants to engage with brands across channels.

Personalisation

IBM’s Customer Experience Study looked at more than 500 brands in 24 countries and found that only 19% of retailers provided a highly personalised digital shopping experience.

“In this new era of customer engagement, what will separate the winners from everyone else is a differentiated brand experience that delivers high impact engagements with compelling personalisation regardless of where the customer is,” said Harriet Green, general manager of IBM Watson Customer Engagement.

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