Multichannel consumers are getting restless. Accenture’s “Adaptive Retail” report, a recent study, found the group to be increasingly frustrated with the visibility across channels.
According to Accenture’s findings, retailers’ digital capabilities haven’t caught up to the expectations of multichannel shoppers.
Almost 50 percent of shoppers said they want the ability to check product availability online before going to a store. Only 28 percent of retailers provide information about stock for a specific store.
The multichannel group wants to use mobile phones while shopping to get real-time promotions, automatic credit for coupons and ordering out-of-stock products, but only 7 percent of retailers can send real-time promotions and only 16 percent are able to automatically credit coupons.
Perhaps not surprisingly, cross-channel shoppers consider physical stores to be the easiest to shop — easier than online and mobile.
“Physical retail is still a big part of the customer experience,” said Patricia Walker, North American retail practice lead at Accenture. “People are starting to use their mobile app in the store more often. The survey ties retailers’ capabilities to what consumers want. It’s actionable insights.”
Multichannel shoppers are considered the most valuable type of consumer because they spend significantly more than those who shop a single platform. “Many retailers say multichannel shoppers spend five to 10 times more,” Walker said. “They’re interacting more with the brand.”
There are disconnects between multichannel consumers and retailers. While 27 percent of shoppers plan to purchase more via smartphones this year, only 48 percent find purchasing through mobile devices an easy process. As for retailers, only 58 percent have smartphone apps with purchase capabilities.
Accenture’s survey was based on responses from 10,096 global multichannel shoppers.
Respondents were asked which services they’d like to see offered through their mobile phones. About 37 percent said they would use a shopping list, item locator or store navigator. Only 4 percent of retailers have virtual store display capabilities for mobile phones to help navigate the store.
Accenture tried to gauge the level of interaction — with a store, live or otherwise — that multichannel consumers feel comfortable with. More than half the respondents said they’d want promotional offers sent to them based on items they’re considering online. However, 41 percent said sales associates knowing what’s in a consumer’s baskets or wish list is creepy.
Consumers like the idea of shopping services that visit one or several stores and deliver the goods to their homes, with 46 percent likely to use such a service. But they’re only willing to pay a premium of between 5 percent and 10 percent.
Walker said new devices such as Echo, a voice-activated digital assistant, can be “an interesting potential disruption. It’s another channel retailers will have to figure out where they’re not controlling the interface. You just talk to it in natural language.”
The survey illustrates the juxtaposition between what consumers are asking for and what retailers are providing. Other features consumers are asking for include free in-store Wi-Fi, the ability to scan products in the store and have them delivered, and booking time with sales associates and receiving an alert when they’re available.
“Retailers have to learn how to be adaptive,” Walker said. “It’s becoming a faster and faster cycle.”