What do shoppers really want? Do retailers have a clue?
When customers shop at your store, do they feel confident, secure, and supported? According to a survey I conducted in partnership with Oracle NetSuite and Wakefield, they don’t. In fact, the survey found that more than half of the 1,200 surveyed customers felt anxious, stressed or alone the last time they walked into a brick-and-mortar store.
So, what’s the solution? Many retailers think that tech is the silver bullet to keep shoppers – especially young ones – coming into the store as opposed to buying online. This is where we saw the most significant disconnect. While nearly every retailer of the 400 we surveyed thinks tech will increase foot traffic, only one in three customers would be enticed by stores that feature things like virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
What customers really want is a simple, streamlined layout that facilitates a smooth shopping experience. They also want employee help – more than half of surveyed Millennials would feel more welcomed by in-store interactions with employees.
Tech only works if you have good employees using it so that it enhances customer service, instead of replacing it. While 43 percent of respondents asked for a personal experience, only 11 percent of retailers felt they had the tools and data needed to make that happen. Retailers can use tech in a smart way that reflects an understanding of their customers while still prioritizing human interactions. This can be tech that makes often annoying processes, like checking out or finding items, easier for the customer. Think about what’s most important to or frustrating for your customers and consider how a well-trained employee armed with supportive tech can make a difference.
Here are some key findings:
- Eighty percent of consumers do not feel they are provided with a personalized shopping experience both in-store and online.
- More than half (58 percent) of consumers are uncomfortable with the way stores use technology to improve personalization in their shopping experience and almost half (45 percent) reported negative emotions when they receive personalized offers online.
- The majority of consumers (53 percent) felt negative emotions the last time they visited a store; only 39 percent feel confident in retail stores today.
All hope is not lost – the survey revealed nearly every respondent saw a reason to buy something at a brick-and-mortar store. When customers have an emotional connection to the brand, they feel more confident buying and that can’t be created by just putting a robot in your store; you need a branded shopping experience. Help your shoppers feel great at all stages of their in-store experience and keep them coming back by using your tech to support great customer service.
- Oracle NetSuite + Retail Doctor Survey Reveals Customer Service Disconnect Between Retailers And Shoppers – RetailDoc.com
- New Study: Hey Alexa, 95% of consumers don’t want to talk to a robot when shopping – Oracle NetSuite
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How effectively, in general, do you find that retailers connect with shoppers in their stores? How can they improve their performance in this respect?