Overall in-store experience is key to winning over shoppers
Brick-and-mortar retailers can’t slack off if they want to trample the competition and get customers to convert, based on recent research.
An April 2015 study by TimeTrade asked US internet users the main reason they decided to purchase a product at a specific store when choosing between four retailers regarding an item with the same price. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said the overall in-store experience they had was the top deciding factor.
Quick service—often a contributor to how well the experience goes—was cited by 30%. Even when shoppers decide on a store, the checkout process may make or break their experience, based on June 2015 research by Harris Poll. Among US internet users, 50% cited checkout-related issues—slow checkout (29%) and long lines (21%)—as frustrations when shopping at a retail establishment.
One way to avoid such irritations could be to provide self-service in-store checkout, something shoppers have voiced a desire for. Product availability, such as out-of-stock items or stores not carrying desired brands or products, was also a big problem, cited by one-quarter of respondents. June 2015 polling by Retail Systems Research queried retailers worldwide about their priorities for improving the in-store experience and found that respondents were most likely to focus on educating and empowering their employees using technology, which jumped from 37% of respondents in 2014 to 49% this year.
Around four in 10 respondents said improving the product mix, adding self-service customer-facing technologies and providing the ability to locate and sell merchandise from anywhere in the company were priorities—all of which saw leaps of at least 10 percentage points year over year. Meanwhile, a focus on a more convenient customer experience dropped in share of respondents, from 51% to 38%, as did more personalised attention from employees and boosting staff productivity.