LATEST THINKING


Seamless trends in retail – improving the customer experience

Accenture encourages retailers to re-think commonly held assumptions about what consumers want – starting with the convenience of online shopping.

Overview

Accenture Research recently conducted a survey that evaluated 15,000 consumers across 20 countries to rank their shopping experiences across channels. The research suggests that consumers may be having second thoughts about the benefits of online shopping – with significant signs of a swing back to retail stores.

While the research suggests that retailers need to make more of the in-store experience, it also identifies the need to combat online fatigue, maintain flexible fulfillment options, and personalize offerings to win consumers’ trust.

Accenture’s seamless journey starts with understanding consumer preferences and ends with helping retailers deliver that seamless experience.

View the full results of our latest research study at www.accenture.com/seamless.

Key Findings

Accenture’s analysis of the trends in retail revealed by our research suggests that the pursuit of five imperatives would distinguish the seamless retail winners:

  1. Make more of the store: retail stores remain a critical aspect of the global shopping experience, but 38 percent of our survey respondents are looking for improvement.

  2. Combat online fatigue: in mature markets, just 48 percent ranked online shopping for convenience – which is a drop from last year.

  3. Remember the basics of loyalty: shoppers still rank a convenient location, product assortment, the best prices and good customer service as the top reasons for remaining loyal to a favored retailer.

  4. Maintain flexible fulfillment options: consumers’ attitudes about fulfillment and speed of delivery differ across markets.

  5. Personalize offerings to win trust: close to 50 percent of global shoppers are happy to provide retailers with their personal information – as long as it results in a truly personalized offering.

Analysis

While this most recent survey of consumer expectations also found that 28 percent of all respondents plan to shop more in-store – that’s not the only surprise to emerge from Accenture Research. Fewer consumers now cite “convenience” as the main reason for shopping online – as an overwhelming majority feels that it’s easier to complete a purchase in-store than online or mobile. Additionally, when it comes to fulfillment, most told us that scheduling is more important to the customer experience than speed.

These findings challenge some commonly held assumptions about today’s customer expectations. They also indicate that retailers struggling to provide a seamless, cross-channel customer experience may need to re-think key aspects of their approach – the time to act is now.