2015 Retail Satisfaction Barometer: OmniChannel in Retail Drives Profit
“Consumers are embracing new technologies aimed at putting the power of the purchase in their hands while providing a personalized, cross-channel experience.”
2015 CFI Group, American Customer Satisfaction Index
The potential benefits of moving to an omnichannel shopping experience for retails have long been touted by industry analysts and cutting-edge retailers. Now its praises are being sung by the most important voices: the customers themselves.
In its benchmark study of the satisfaction levels pulled from a pool of 1,200 retail consumers, CFI Group has produced its third such report for 2015. This year’s Retail Satisfaction Barometer reveals concrete evidence that cross-channel capabilities are driving higher scores of satisfaction, loyalty, and likelihood to make repeat purchases with the same retailer.
“The retail space is a market in which consumers continue to look for ways to empower themselves. As the checkout experience is a high impact driver of retailer satisfaction, it is a significant area of opportunity.”
Of the respondents who utilized cross-channel features and services (like a “purchase online and pickup in store” feature, rated by consumers as the most popular omnichannel opportunity) their satisfaction scores were notably higher. Satisfaction at stores without any omnichannel offerings averaged at 77%; stores that were able to provide those features and services saw an average of 82%.
Consumers were most impressed by these services and features in the context of their satisfaction with:
- the overall store (6% improvement),
- the checkout process (3% improvement),
- and the merchandise itself (8% improvement).
Driving Loyalty & Repeat Purchases
“The task will be for retailers to provide the best possible experience for the customer – whether in-store, online, or a hybrid of both – in order to remain competitive and profitable.”
More than a majority of shoppers (76%) are either very or somewhat receptive to promotions and recommendations based on their past shopping history – and this means tracking their purchases both offline and online and combining that knowledge to provide the offer most relevant to their interests. When the shoppers are broken down by age group, the study finds that Millennials are the most open to these kinds of customized offers – making this new kind of marketing and customer service a promising way to secure the loyalty of young adults now beginning their careers with many years of buying power ahead of them.
When specifically asked if offering the “purchase online, pick up in store” feature would increase purchases, 53% of consumers indicated they would be somewhat or very likely to come back and buy more frequently from stores that could provide that convenience.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
“While findings show that customers are not only receptive to cross-channel offerings, but may also increase their purchases after interacting with the offerings, there are a few strings attached.”
If you’re going to do omnichannel, you need to make sure you’re doing it right. The study illuminates two major pitfalls that need to be avoided. 85% of consumers reported that it’s important to them that pricing is consistent across all of a retailer’s purchasing platforms. For consumers, it’s frustrating and seems dishonest when a product costs more in-store than it does on the website, or vice versa.
Finally, if customers are going to trust you with their shopping history data and other personal information that will allow you to custom-tailor services and marketing, they need to be confidence that the data is secure. Only 32% of respondents reported being very confident in retailers’ ability to keep their private information secure. Naturally, the less confident they are of their data’s safety, the lower their overall satisfaction with the retailer. Before you embark on a data-driven business plan, take steps to ensure your security measures are as comprehensive as possible and use the most up-to-date protection possible.
“This year, we also asked respondents which features or services they have actually experienced with the retailer with whom they last shopped. Nearly half report no exposure to [omnichannel] features or services.”
Right now, retailers are dragging their feet on implementing omnichannel solutions. This represents a significant opportunity for early adopters to gain some competitive advantage and earn the loyalty of consumers by offering an experience that other retailers lack. The 2015 RSB offers three concrete examples of services and features retailers can implement that fall under the omnichannel banner:
- Purchase online, pickup in store
- Online shopping history available in-store to target offering to customer needs
- In-store shopping history and online account linked to target offering to customer needs
Statistics now support claims that offering these kinds of omnichannel experiences improves customer satisfaction and loyalty – with the end result of driving profit.
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