As retailers continue to expand their focus on the omnichannel experience for shoppers, a new Accenture survey found that leading chains continue to fall short in meeting customer expectations as they shop across multiple channels.
A survey of 750 U.S. consumers by Accenture and a separate analysis of how U.S. retailers operate across multiple sales channels indicate that, in order to win consumer loyalty and achieve growth across all channels, retailers must enhance their mobile commerce offerings and improve the in-store shopping experience.
According to the survey, only 42% of shoppers found it easy to complete a purchase using a mobile device. When asked which aspect of the shopping experience is most in need of an upgrade, 39% ranked the physical store first.
Not far behind, 32% of respondents said the second biggest improvement retailers need to make in the consumer shopping experience is to enable the use of all three sales channels— physical store, online and mobile— in an integrated way. Tablet and mobile phone users find that they can shop and purchase at only 22% and 19% of retailers, respectively, Accenture related.
“Physical and digital commerce are converging at an incredible pace,” said Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “The fact that many consumers use their mobile devices to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and are looking for real-time promotions to be sent to their phones means retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on the power of these devices.”
Retailers who invest in mobile applications and frictionless digital payment tools that incorporate loyalty, coupons and rewards in-store, can provide a seamless bridge between customers’ online and offline experiences, he said.
The survey also found that more consumers would like to access services such as earning loyalty points and receiving real-time promotions through their mobile phones while shopping in-store. In the study, 39% of respondents said that they would take advantage of the opportunity to earn loyalty points and save money on their purchases through in-store mobile phone offers. In the meantime, 45% of consumers would like to receive real-time promotions sent to their phones or tablet. Yet, only 28% of retailers currently have the capability to deliver that service, Accenture noted.
As for improvements consumers would like implemented in the shopping experience, 19% of survey respondents cited easy ordering of out-of-stock merchandise and 15% said they would like to see free Wi-Fi. In addition, 36% of respondents said they would order out-of-stock items via their mobile phone while in-store if they had the option.
In addition, more than 8 in 10 survey respondents said they expect prices of items found in-store and online to be the same.