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What customers want: two studies reveal priorities from convenience to wi-fi

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What do customers want in an age of digital shopping? It’s a question that two new studies aim to answer.

For Oracle , the answer is convenience. Its 2015 consumer research report Retail Without Limits – A Modern Commercial Society, finds that technology-driven convenience is ‘fundamental’ for UK shoppers. The global study questioned 5,000 shoppers across 10 countries, including 500 UK adults and found that as a group UK shoppers were private, conscious of value and service, and that their loyalty could be influenced by convenience and value, but not by familiarity. They are keen users of online and mobile technology, but can be easily frustrated by poor functionality and commerce experiences that don’t work, especially when it comes to access and availability.

More than a third (35%) didn’t want to share information on their shopping habits with retailers, and preferred not to talk to a shop assistant, while 34% wanted to use self-service shopping approaches.

More than half (56%) are focused on value, with 82% listing price as their main reason to be loyal, while 39% are particularly disappointed by the lack of website functionality, 51% by poor availability and 42% by poor delivery choices. Some 80% say retailers should invest in technologies that will improve their shopping experience, while 59% want more click and collection facilities. While 63% shop in store once a week, 33% shop online in that same seven-day period.

“To win the trust of UK shoppers and influence share of spend, retailers must enable consumers to shop as, when and how they please: that is, privately, conveniently and connected from web to store,” said Jill Puleri, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Retail.

Meanwhile a YouGov study, Innovations in Retailing 2015, found just over a third (35%) of consumers would like free wi-fi as standard. While 19% of the 2,114 people who were questioned about the retail innovations they would most like to see as standard named scannable bar codes that would reveal more product information, and 21% would like to be served by iPad equipped staff, more people (40%) would like self-service checkouts.

When asked what technology would encourage consumers to choose a particular retailer over another, 30% opted for free in-store Wi-Fi ahead of self-service checkouts (29%), staff equipped with tablets (22%) and scannable barcodes (20%). Options such as interactive store windows (13%) and virtual mirrors (9%) receive less support.

James McCoy, research director of YouGov Reports, said: “Consumers are increasingly looking to merge their in-store and online shopping experiences. They want to use it to both find out more about the products they are considering buying but also to check whether they can getting a better deal elsewhere. Some retailers have already moved in this direction; both Tesco and ASDA have launched free in-store Wi-Fi to allow customers to access product information, recipes and find out the latest offers and deals. Consumers clearly want it and many are already using it. It could well be in retailers’ interests to listen to these calls.”

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