The Relevance of Brick-&-Mortar Stores in an Omni-Channel World

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Table of Contents

  1. Top stats from the report
  2. Introduction
  3. 3 reasons omni-channel consumers prefer physical stores
  4. Retail as an information hub on the path to purchase
  5. 3 ways stores can better serve omni-channel shoppers
  6. References

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Top stats from the report

  • Overall in 2014, 44% of US shoppers across 15 major categories were omni-channel shoppers – up from 37% in 2013.
  • More than half of all US shopper’s in consumer electronics (65%), apparel (64%), and toys (63%) are omni-channel shoppers.
  • The share of omni-channel shoppers in the home improvement category increased from 38% in 2013 to 57% in 2014- a growth of 50%. In the auto category, the figure increased from 43% in 2013 to 57% in 2014 – a growth of 33%.
  • 53% of consumers bought products on their PC or tablet in 2014 compared to 26% who bought products on their smartphones.
  • 13% of consumers are now buying products straight from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter while 10% are buying through a link on online articles and magazines.
  • 34% of consumers who bought products in stores had it delivered home.
  • Click-and-collect was opted by 31% of consumers.
  • 53% of consumers said that their preferred mode of purchase was to visit a store and leave with the products themselves.
  • 58% of consumers prefer shopping in a store before they can ‘see and feel’ the product before buying.
  • 53% of consumers prefer the in-store experience because they ‘get products sooner’.
  • 44% of consumers prefer visiting stores because they can discover and purchase unrelated items during the same visit.
  • 61% of consumers pick online channels of purchase to save money.
  • 53% of consumers prefer buying online because it is ‘easier’
  • 46% of shoppers perceive the selection to be better online.
  • Consumers also prefer store to online channels because they have fallen into the habit of visiting stores for certain products (39%) and feel more assured about a hassle-free return procedure should they need to (35%).
  • 48% of consumers are happy to buy a product directly from the brand instead of visiting a retailer.
  • 60% of these consumers won’t buy the brand unless they see it in a brick-&-mortar store first.
  • The share of showrooming shoppers in the US increased from 22% in 2012 to 37% in 2013 but dropped to 28% in 2014.
  • 41% of US shoppers reported they engaged in webrooming in 2014.
  • 72% of US consumers said they felt more in control than before when shopping.
  • 62% of consumers are now less loyal to retailers and 60% are less loyal to brands than before due to information obtained from online research.
  • 52% of consumers say they are loyal to a brand or retailer that gives them relevant and helpful input on what to buy.
  • 87% of shoppers seek information before visiting a store and 79% seek information while in a store.
  • 35% of shoppers sought more information after having visited a retail outlet.
  • 69% of US shoppers visited a retail store for information during different stages of the consumer journey.
  • 32% of consumers visited a retail store in the discovery oriented Awareness stage of the journey.
  • 33% of consumers visited a retail store during the Influence stage of the journey.
  • 55% of consumers visited a retail store during the Purchase stage of the journey.
  • 14% of consumers return to the store post-purchase either to return products or for help with using them.
  • 43% of shoppers reported feeling frustrated after failing to find product related information during a store visit.
  • 41% of shoppers who failed to find relevant information during a store visit said they were likely to shop elsewhere.
  • 22% said they were less likely to buy from the retailer.
  • 53% of consumers want mobile apps to provide accurate information about the location and availability of products in the store.
  • 34% of consumers want apps to provide suggestions about additional products they might like.
  • 75% of shoppers use a search engine to look up products and information even before heading out for a store visit.
  • 71% of consumers search for information on online-only retailer websites/apps and 70% look up websites/apps for retailers with physical stores.
  • 75% of shoppers want price related information in nearby stores while 74% want to know if the item is in stock at a nearby store.
  • 66% of consumers seek location of nearest store, 63% look for opening hours, and 59% want a map that shows stores with the product in stock.
  • 56% of consumers also want complimentary information on other products available across different stores to help them decide which store to visit.
  • 68% of consumers who visited a retail store said they expected the sales associate to be an expert on the products offered in-store while 45% expected them to be an expert in products offered both online and in-store.
  • Consumers are less likely to expect the sales assistant to be actively using the product (23%) or have knowledge of their past purchase behavior (14%).
  • 69% of consumers expect store assistants to have a mobile device to help them out.
  • 50% of consumers who visit a store expect store personnel to look up product information on their mobile devices.
  • Shoppers also expect that when products are not in the shelf, retail staff would use their mobile device to check inventory in the store (43%) as well as at a nearby store (44%).
  • 40% of consumers also expect store personnel to provide information regarding return policies and warranties.
  • 73% of consumers are likely or very likely to visit a store if the product is marked as available.
  • 71% of consumers are not likely to visit a store if the product is marked as out-of-stock.
  • 74% of shoppers are likely to opt for the buy-and-deliver-product option if it’s free but only 30% are likely to opt for it if they have to pay.
  • 62% of consumers are likely to visit and buy from another retailer’s store in the event the product is out-of-stock.
  • 53% of consumers are likely to buy it online once they reach home from a different retailer.
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Introduction

More and more consumers are seamlessly shifting between online and offline platforms during their retail path to purchase to become omni-channel shoppers. Overall in 2014, 44% of US shoppers across 15 major categories were omni-channel shoppers – up from 37% in 2013. Omni-channel is not limited to customers buying online or offline, but also researching online at home and office to plan a store visit or paying online at home and picking goods up at store or paying at store and having the goods delivered home. As online and offline merge in today’s commerce anywhere and everywhere world, what is the significance of the retail store as a customer touch point?

Since the early days of e-commerce in the late 90s analysts have predicted the demise of retail stores. The doomsday prophecies reappeared in 2012 when a third of US consumers engaged in showrooming. But the brick-& mortar store refuses to die. In 2014, 53% of US consumers said that their preferred mode of purchase was to visit a store and leave with the product. Stores provide an emotional assurance that online cannot. 58% of consumers prefer shopping in a store so that they can ‘see and feel’ the product before buying.

While stores are not going away any time soon, their role has certainly evolved from a transactional one to an informative one. 69% of US shoppers visited a retail store for information during different stages of the consumer journey. Customers have come to expect information from stores during the pre-purchase research stage.

In order to fully embrace the omni-channel trend, retailers will have to do more than just create an e-commerce store and a mobile app. They will have to provide information on location, directions, opening times and product availability to drive store visits. Once inside the store, customers expect staff to have mobile devices to help them with queries and even provide suggestions on related products. Above all customers expect consistency in the online and offline experience. Nothing drives a customer out the store and towards a rival retailer faster than when a product marked as available online is out-of-stock during the store visit.

This report will not only reveal that shoppers still prefer in-store to online experience, but also shed light on three key reasons why they prefer brick-&-mortar stores as well as offer a strategic guide on what retailers can do to improve the consumer’s store experience in return for their loyalty and word of mouth.

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US omni-channel shopping hits tipping point in 2014

The omni-channel shopping trend is no longer an emerging behavior among US shoppers. Overall in 2014 44% of US shoppers across 15 major categories were omni-channel shoppers – up from 37% in 2013. With nearly half of all shoppers using online and offline channels to make a purchase, omni-channel behavior is a well-established mainstream trend.

US Omni channel shopping trend hits tipping point in 2014

The top three categories that lead omni-channel shopping in 2014 are consumer electronics, apparel and toys – identical to the rankings in 2013. More than half of all US shoppers in consumer electronics (65%), apparel (64%), and toys (63%) are omni-channel shoppers.

However, growth in the top two categories of consumer electronics and apparel witnessed declines of 7% and 4.5% respectively – yet another sign that omni-channel behavior has graduated from its emerging trend status.

The omni-channel trend is being driven by home improvement and auto categories, which observed the biggest increases in omni-channel shoppers. The share of omni-channel shoppers in the home improvement category increased from 38% in 2013 to 57% in 2014- a growth of 50%. In the auto category, the figure increased from 43% in 2013 to 57% in 2014 – a growth of 33%.

Both home improvement and auto are categories that consumers treat as long-term investments instead of short-term expenditure like consumer electronics, apparel and toys. Compared to latter group of categories, products in the home improvement and auto categories need to be upgraded less frequently.

Consumers purchasing from home improvement and auto categories are also more likely to visit stores to gain assurance and make the purchase due to high prices. The growth in these two durable categories shows that the omni-channel trend is not about taking sales away from brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, retailers in these categories should expect consumers to be well informed and armed with mobile devices as they enter the stores. Consumers will also expect store employees to know more than they do.

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Omni-channel gives consumers options when it comes to how they buy

A significant change as a result of the omni-channel shopping trend is that consumers today have multiple options when it comes to mode of purchase. It’s not just buy on an e-commerce site or buy in-store. Consumers can choose to click and collect i.e. buy online and pick-up at store, buy on social networking sites and online magazines, and even buy in-store and have the product delivered home.

When it comes to buying products straight from an online retailer, consumers overwhelmingly prefer PC or tablet to the smaller sized smartphones. 53% of consumers bought products on their PC or tablet in 2014 compared to 26% who bought products on their smartphones. However, this might change in the future as mobile payments on smartphones improve to provide a more streamlined customer experience.

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The prominence of PCs and tablets in consumer’s purchase behavior reflects the availability of a wide range of products online rather than consumer’s preference for buying over PCs and tablets. A range of factors that include online-only prices, free delivery, and wider selection of brands make online retailers a logically convenient option for shoppers who are looking to lower the risk of making a wrong purchase decision.

Online channels offer a couple more options other than retailer websites. 13% of consumers are now buying products straight from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter while 10% are buying through a link on online articles and magazines. This mode of marketing and sales has come to be known as content marketing among online marketers.

Consumers also have options when it comes to buying from a store. 34% of consumers who bought products in stores had it delivered home. This is a popular option when products are either not easy to move or out of stock. Consumers can also choose to pay online via PC, tablet or mobile and pick up the goods at store on a later date. This mode of purchase, popularly known as click-and-collect, was opted by 31% of consumers.

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Consumers prefer buying in-store to all other omni-channel options

Despite the numerous ways in which consumers can buy products, more than half prefer to buy goods in-store to online options. 53% of consumers said that their preferred mode of purchase was to visit a store and leave with the products themselves.

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While a third of shoppers do use the option to get products delivered home after paying for it in the store, they do not seem to prefer this option. Delay in delivery times as well as out of stock issues are most likely the reasons people aren’t excited about this option while it may seem like a convenient add-on for retailers. In fact the option helps retailers in helping them manage their stock. Consumers are yet to find a significant benefit in having products delivered home after putting in the effort to visit the store and make a payment. Only 4% of consumers would prefer to have goods delivered home after paying for it in the store.

Among online modes of purchase, more than a third of consumers prefer the established route of buying online and having goods delivered home. Online-only retailers like Amazon are well-trusted household names that have built their brand over the last decade on fulfilling (sometimes exceeding) delivery promises. Similar to having products delivered at home after in-store purchase, click-and-collect method which seems to benefit the retailer in helping them manage their stock but is yet to provide a notable benefit to consumers. Less than 10% of consumers prefer the click-and-collect route with 5% saying they prefer to collect it at office or locker and 4% willing to pick it up from a store.

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3 reasons omni-channel consumers prefer physical stores

The growing relevance of retail stores has less to do with a retro, old school appeal and more to do with key emerging trends that are shaping people’s opinion and behavior.

In a time when technology has removed many barriers to the shopping experience, people still seek the experience of browsing through the store to explore and discover. While online research helps consumers know a lot about products before they enter a store, they still feel the need to visit a store and check out the product before making up their minds. In fact in most cases, people use technology as a medium to enable a better retail experience by planning the store visit ahead of time.

The three key reasons why consumers prefer retail stores to online channels are:

1. Stores provide emotional benefits that improve shopping experience
2. Brand driven purchase decision
3. Rise of webrooming – search online, buy offline

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Stores provide emotional benefits that improve shopping experience

Consumers prefer shopping in a store for emotional reasons that alleviate worries around uncertainties and enhance their overall shopping experience. People looking to buy products and services are usually under some stress to make the right purchase decision. The familiarity of a physical store along with a communal feeling of sharing the retail space other similar shoppers helps deal with the stress. In comparison, when they pick online shopping, it’s largely for functional reasons that help them make a faster, easier, money saving decision.

The #1 reason why consumers prefer buying directly from a brick-&-mortar store is because it allows them to physically inspect the product. 58% of consumers prefer shopping in a store before they can ‘see and feel’ the product before buying. In comparison, the top reason that drives online shopping is cost saving. 61% of consumers pick online channels of purchase to save money.

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Saving money is a functional benefit compared to the emotional satisfaction of ‘seeing and feeling’ a product. This difference continues with all other drivers of in-store and online channels.

While 53% of consumers prefer buying online because it is ‘easier’, an equivalent 53% prefer the in-store experience because they ‘get products sooner’. This highlights the differences in how convenience is perceived between different groups of customers. While online shoppers find ‘one-click buy’ buttons a functionality that makes shopping easy, store goers prefer the worry free option of getting their products as soon as they pay for it.

46% of shoppers perceive the selection to be better online. While online helps customers in making a more informed choice, customers who visit stores are buying complimentary products for a more rewarding shopping experience. 44% of consumers prefer visiting stores because they can discover and purchase unrelated items during the same visit. Consumers also prefer store to online channels because they have fallen into the habit of visiting stores for certain products (39%) and feel more assured about a hassle-free return procedure should they need to (35%).

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Brand driven purchase decision

Growing brand consciousness among consumers means that they are not only aware of various brands available to them, but are willing to buy products directly from brands instead of a retailer. 48% of consumers are happy to buy a product directly from the brand instead of visiting a retailer.

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The availability of options at a retailer is trumped by the availability of information online. Consumers can go online to discover brands, explore them and compared them before deciding which one to purchase. However, 60% of these consumers won’t buy the brand unless they see it in a brick-&-mortar store first.

The importance of seeing the brand in a physical store before purchase underlines the importance of retail outlets as a key moment of truth that can make or break a purchase decision. While online can be useful in product discovery and information gathering, all of it is leasing up to the customer’s retail visit and increasingly that store can be owned and run by the brand itself.

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Rise of webrooming – search online, buy offline

In 2012, retailers panicked when customers were showrooming i.e. visiting stores to check out products before buying them online for a discounted price. The rise of smartphones and mobile Internet were key drivers behind the showrooming trend. Consumers were turning to their smartphones when in-store to compare prices across retailers online and offline. A cheaper option at an online retailer prompted them to buy the product online after having ‘seen and felt’ the product at the store – effectively rendering the store to a showroom.

When the share of showrooming shoppers in the US increased from 22% in 2012 to 37% in 2013, many industry analysts predicted the end of retail stores especially for consumer electronic brands like Best Buy. The prediction, however, proved to be incorrect as only 28% of US shoppers used their smartphones to showroom in 2014.

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The decline of showrooming has given way to webrooming i.e. visiting stores for purchase after conducting research online on PC, tablet or smartphone. 41% of US shoppers reported they engaged in webrooming in 2014. Shoppers are using digital technology to facilitate their store visit and eventually buy the product in stores.

Webrooming is having a strong impact on the US consumer’s shopping experience. Consumers feel empowered since they can enter the store armed with knowledge following online research. 72% of US consumers said they felt more in control than before when shopping.

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The empowered customer is likely to switch loyalty towards brands and retailers based on how fruitful the pre-visit research stage was. 62% of consumers are now less loyal to retailers and 60% are less loyal to brands than before due to information obtained from online research. In other words, most consumers will visit a new retail store or try a new brand if they found relevant and helpful information online.

Loyalty is a function of the benefit obtained from interacting with a retailer or brand. 52% of consumers say they are loyal to a brand or retailer that gives them relevant and helpful input on what to buy. Retail store brands have an opportunity to engage with shoppers and impact loyalty even before they visit the store.

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Retail as an information hub on the path to purchase

Despite the proliferation of technology omni-channel shoppers prefer visiting retail stores to buying from online retailers. However, this does not mean that stores can take a step back as the passive destination for transaction. Retail stores are no longer simply venues of buying and selling products.

Consumers are visiting retail stores to discover brands and conduct research among other things. We need to re-evaluate the role of retail stores in an age where information is just a few taps away from the connected consumer.

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Evaluating retail stores in a tech driven information age

The modern shopper actively looks for useful information before making a purchase decision. Most of this information seeking behavior happens before and during a store visit. 87% of shoppers seek information before visiting a store and 79% seek information while in a store.

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Consumers are less likely to seek information after a store visit. Only 35% of shoppers sought more information after having visited a retail outlet most likely because they were able to considerably narrow down their choices and zero in on a purchase decision.

While this highlights the importance of retail stores in converting potential customers, it does not imply that consumers conduct all their research online and then visit stores to only buy the product. Shoppers visit retail stores for research purposes as well.

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Retail stores act as information hubs across the consumer journey

Consumers visit retail stores throughout the consumer journey to find and collect information that will help them make a judicious purchase decision. Overall 69% of US shoppers visited a retail store for information during different stages of the consumer journey.

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32% of consumers visited a retail store in the Awareness stage of the journey. The Awareness stage is when a consumer has just realized a need/want and researches the category to discover as many options as possible. The research is cursory in nature, as consumers only want an overview of the brand and/or products available to them. Consumers are likely to visit stores and browse products as well as interact with store personnel to help them discover possible options for purchase.

33% of consumers visited a retail store during the Influence stage of the journey. The Influence stage is when a consumer carries out comprehensive research by comparing different options to narrow down their choices and arrive at a final purchase decision. Consumers interact with peers, online reviews, and social media content among other factors to eliminate options that do not meet their requirements. Visiting a store to ‘look and feel’ the product as well as interact with store personnel can influence a consumer’s purchase decision.

55% of consumers visited a retail store during the Purchase stage of the journey. The Purchase stage is when a consumer obtains the product having paid for it. While this may seem like a simple transaction that should be over on the surface, factors such as availability and delivery can obstruct consumers from their intended goal of obtaining the product in an acceptable condition. More than half of all consumers visiting a store to make their purchase show that customers are willing to give up convenience of online ordering for the peace of mind obtained from the ability to check and be sure the product in a good condition.

14% of consumers return to the store post-purchase. Post purchase is a key stage of the consumer journey frequently ignored by retailers and brands alike. This is the stage where consumers evaluate their experience and form a brand perception that leads to loyalty and recommendation behavior. Consumers might visit retail stores either to return products or seeking help on using them.

One of the major reasons only 14% shoppers return to the store after purchase is that most shoppers now turn online to seek help either directly through email or via other shoppers who have shared their experience online. The interaction with customer service staff is essential. While the 14% figure my seem too small to take this stage seriously, it represents the small cohort of customers who feel aggravated or desperate enough to visit a retail store for their needs. They should be viewed as opportunities to create evangelists instead of a nuisance.

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Using technology to fulfill the need for information

Despite the significance of retail stores as an information hub to convert potential buyers, more than half of US shoppers have failed to find the information they sought during a visit. 2 in 3 shoppers who tried to find information within a store at any point during the consumer journey say they didn’t find all the information they needed.

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43% of shoppers reported feeling frustrated after failing to find product related information during a store visit. Store visits during the pre-purchase stages are emotionally charged. Consumers already have a plethora of information from online sources and peers. So their store visits usually have specific goals such as being able to handle the product, or try out the service or seek answers to specific queries they have in mind. Not being able to fulfill such emotional needs leaves shoppers disappointed and frustrated.

The feeling of frustration can lead to real business impact by driving footfall for rival retailer brands and lowering conversion rates. 41% of shoppers who failed to find relevant information during a store visit said they were likely to shop elsewhere. The after effects of a frustrated visit can also have long term visits with shoppers not visiting or purchasing from the store in the future. 22% said they were less likely to buy from the retailer in the future.

Consumers are quick to point out that retailers can use technology to provide value-add services that can fill the information gap. 53% of consumers want mobile apps to provide accurate information about the location and availability of products in the store. This pertains to being to ‘see and feel’ the product they looked up online without the hassle of hunting it down across aisles for hours.

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34% of consumers want apps to provide suggestions about additional products they might like. This pertains to the habit of shopping for an occasion or event rather than solely for the product. For instance, a shopper buying chips and dips for a get-together with friends would also want to know about other snacks and beverages available in the store at that time.

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3 ways stores can better serve omni-channel shoppers

Given the strong preference for brick-&-mortar stores and the role of stores, as information hubs for consumers, there are three opportunities along the customer journey for retailers to better serve consumers and stay relevant.

1.Awareness Stage: Provide information to facilitate and improve store visits
2.Influence Stage: Empower store personnel to help visiting customers
3.Conversion Stage: Prevent out-of-stock instances that disappoint customers

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Awareness Stage: Provide info to facilitate & improve store visits

In the Awareness stage consumers use technology to make their store visits more efficient and meaningful. At this stage, consumers are likely to visit stores to ‘see and feel’ the products. Retailers can provide relevant information to help shoppers decide whether or not to visit a store, plan their trip to the store, and decide which store to visit. 75% of shoppers use a search engine to look up products and information even before heading out for a store visit.

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Consumers are just as likely to visit websites and apps by retailers, as they are to visit a search engine. A comparable 71% of consumers search for information on online-only retailer websites/apps and 70% look up websites/apps for retailers with physical stores.

Shoppers who use digital tools for research want relevant information that is also local to their surroundings. 75% want price related information in nearby stores while 74% want to know if the item is in stock at a nearby store.

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Shoppers also value information that will help them plan a trip to the store such as location, maps and opening hours.66% of consumers seek location of nearest store, 63% look for opening hours, and 59% want a map that shows stores with the product in stock. 56% of consumers also want complimentary information on other products available across different stores to help them decide which store to visit.

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Influence Stage: Empower staff to educate shoppers & exceed expectations

In the Influence stage, consumers seek in-depth knowledge that will help them narrow down their options to arrive at a purchase decision. Retailers can influence shoppers significantly through personal interaction via peers or store personnel rather than through technology. When it comes to empowering store personnel to influence consumers, the key is in identifying consumer expectations and exceeding them.

Store going consumers are already well informed. As such they expect store personnel to be ‘more informed and knowledgeable than them. 68% of consumers who visited a retail store said they expected the sales associate to be an expert on the products offered in-store while 45% expected them to be an expert in products offered both online and in-store.

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Consumers are less likely to expect the sales assistant to be actively using the product (23%) or have knowledge of their past purchase behavior (14%). Both of these are common misconceptions among retailers trying to meet customer expectations. Having an expert on the floor isn’t necessarily the best option. Customers want someone who can empathize with their problem as much as solve the problem. While experts can solve a consumer’s problem, they usually fail to educate the consumer on how to solve it themselves if the problem were to arise again. Similarly, the staff sitting behind a screen with access to the shopper’s support history reduces the consumer from a person to a collection of rows and columns in the software.

Shoppers expect sales assistants to help them with technology similar to the ones they use – mobile devices. 69% of consumers expect store assistants to have a mobile device to help them out. They do not expect store personnel to memorize all facts and features about each product in the store but they do expect the staff to start looking up relevant information using a mobile device to educate them and find answers to their queries. In essence, shoppers need a holding hand to guide them through the process and not a well programmed robot or app to spit out answers – even if those answers do respond to their queries.

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Consumers expect mobile carrying retail staff to first and foremost answer queries on the product. 50% of consumers who visit a store expect store personnel to look up product information on their mobile devices. Shoppers also expect that when products are not in the shelf, retail staff would use their mobile device to check inventory in the store (43%) as well as at a nearby store (44%). 40% of consumers also expect store personnel to provide information regarding return policies and warranties.

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Conversion Stage: Prevent out-of-stock instances that disappoint consumers

In the Conversion stage, consumers are ready to buy the product. Retailers need to make sure that the products are available in the store or at least the inventory when consumers visit the store to buy the product. In-fact consumers are only likely to visit a store for purchase after they check for the inventory online from their homes and offices. 73% of consumers are likely or very likely to visit a store if the product is marked as available. At the same time, 71% of consumers are not likely to visit a store if the product is marked as out-of-stock.

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Even information on low levels inventory can draw more customers to the store than no information or out-of-stock notifications. 45% of shoppers are likely or very likely to visit a store if it marks the product of their interest as ‘low availability’ – in other words availability is not guaranteed. But only 38% of shoppers are likely or very likely to visit a store if the inventory is marked as not available. In circumstances where inventory is marked as out-of-stock the figure falls to 26%. Retailers who maintain inventory and mark it as available online gain 3 times the number of consumers than retailers who have to mark it as out-of-stock.

However, accuracy in online notification is of utmost importance. Retailers cannot afford to make the mistake of marking a product as available online when it is out-of-stock in the store. If consumers visit a store after seeing a product marked as available online and find out that the product is out of stock they are likely to go ahead with the purchase and have the product delivered to their homes only if it’s free. This is the most common type of omni-channel mishap that negatively impacts the consumer’s experience ultimately losing a customer for life or generating a negative word of mouth.

Retailers may still be able to convert disappointed customers if they offer to deliver the product to their homes for no charge. 74% of shoppers are likely to opt for the buy-and-deliver-product option if it’s free but only 30% are likely to opt for it if they have to pay. Free delivery is a gesture of regret and responsibility that appeases the annoyed customer.

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In case retailers are not willing to provide a free delivery service, out-of-stock situations can drive customers to their rivals. 62% of consumers are likely to visit and buy from another retailer’s store in the event the product is out-of-stock. 53% of consumers are likely to buy it online once they reach home from a different retailer. A poor in-store experience can not only cause retailers to lose a customer for life but help other retailers who have maintained the basics of managing their stock and updating the information accurately online.

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References

1.GfK FutureBuy 2014, GfK (October 2014)
2.The New Retail Democracy: Prioritising the Provision of Commerce Anywhere, Oracle (2014)
3.Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping: Research Debunks Common Myths, Google (October 2014)
4.Customer Desires Vs. Retailer Capabilities: Minding The Omni-Channel Commerce Gap, Forrester Consulting, Accenture, and hybris (January 2014)