Sea-changing internet technology and development has led to dramatic changes in eCommerce Online Retail Competition, particularly the consumer-seller relationship. Consumers are influenced by online media whenever they visit a retail website to find product information, consult a review website to decide about a product or service, check social media sites to learn about what to buy or where to go, and to make and pay for their purchases. According to Forrester analysts, an estimated $1.2 trillion -- or 50 percent -- of retail sales were web-influenced.
As a result, most retailers have taken on both digital and physical presences; omnichannel strategies are optimized to enable consumers to seamlessly purchase through channels of their choice, and critical assets are being used to inform, educate and promote physical store sales.
To find out what retailers think their customers think, TimeTrade caught up with 60 major retailers -- representing 936 stores in categories that included technology; specialty; sporting goods/outdoor; home goods; department; drug, grocery; and fast food -- at the 2013 Future Stores Conference to get their perspective on the quickly-changing retail landscape. The retail executives answered questions on topics such as customer service, showrooming, waiting times, omnichannel services, etc.
Here are some of the questions & answers… plus a few enlightening quotes from some industry leaders…
Question: Pretending that you are a customer, what do you (the retailers) think is the #1 thing that your customers are missing?
Answer: A personalized customer experience (60%). (Chosen over "knowledgeable employees, better/faster service") is what customers are missing.
"To keep customers coming, retailers need to do a better job of creating experiences that customers value, evolving with the customer, so that those experiences always match -- and exceed -- expectations. Customers will buy more when they're happy." Jamie Nordstrom, President, Nordstrom Direct.
"The #1 priority for Sprint is the customer experience because improving the customer experience helps build the brand and generates cash." Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse.
Question: What's the impact on sales when customers are assisted by (in-store or online) employees?
Answer: 40% of the retailers said their sales increase by at least 25%; 40% said sales increase by at least 50%; and 5% said sales increase by at least 75% when customers are assisted by employees.
Question: On average how long do you think your in-store customers are willing to wait for service before going elsewhere?
20% - less than 5 minutes
50% - 5 minutes
20% - 10 minutes
5% - 15 minutes
5% - more than 15 minutes.
Retailers take note! The most significant takeaway is that 70% of retail leaders believe that their in-store customers are willing to wait 5 MINUTES OR LESS for service before going elsewhere!
Question: What do you, the retailers, think is the #1 reason you lose customers?
30% - customers can't get answers to questions fast enough
30% - it takes too long for customer to find what they're looking for
15% - checkout lines are too long
20% - customer found lower prices elsewhere
5% - other
Question: What do you think is the best defense against showrooming?
Answer: 52% said the best way to combat showrooming is by improving the in-store customer experience. (Remember, the initial defense when showrooming first came to the forefront was to lower prices, do more promotions, and offer price matching).
Question: What percentage of your sales revenue currently comes from online (vs. in-store) purchases today (2013); and what percentage do you anticipate 12 months from now (2014)?
Answer: According to the Retailers, 83% of their revenue comes from in-store purchases today; the retailers said they expect that figure to be 78% in 2014.
Bottom Line For A Retailer's Bottom Line:
It's obvious that buyers have endless options at their fingertips and wield significantly more power than they ever did. Here are some more relevant statistics:
* Retailers expect mobile device purchases to double over the next 12 months (from 3% in 2013 to 8% in 2014).
* Tablet purchases will go from 4% in 2013 to 7% in 2014.
* Online sales are at 17% of their total revenue now, but will rise to 22% in 2014.
* Omnichannel customers typically spend up to 70% more than the average customer who shops via just one channel (Bain & Co.).
Improving the in-store experience seems most important to retail leaders. Those retailers that are meeting the personalized demands of the "new consumer" and creating experiences that both delight customers and induce loyalty are going to be the winning retailers.