Over the past decade, the internet and smartphone revolution has changed the rules of shopping and presented retailers with the challenge of their lives as they strive to stay ahead of the digital curve. Whilst retail companies have focused much attention on honing their online offering, a recent survey of 2,000 UK consumers by Manhattan Associates highlights that shoppers have become increasingly frustrated that their in-store shopping experience does not match the quality of their experience online.
Of the UK shoppers surveyed, the majority acknowledged the importance of the store associate in achieving a good shopping experience, with only eight per cent denying their importance at all. However, a massive 71% feel they know more about the products and services in store than the store associate themselves. And, with 56% declaring they would interact more with a store assistant if their experience was tailored, it is clear that personalisation is also high on the agenda for the tech-savvy consumer.
The research also reveals that fast delivery is high on shoppers’ list of priorities with more than half rating delivery as important. When it comes to a flexible returns policy however, it seems women are more likely to change their mind over a purchase with 50% considering it an important factor compared to just 35% of men.
Other key findings include:
- 46% of consumers would share personal data in exchange for a discount
- Three in four (74%) consumers shop in-store rather than online because they like to touch/feel the products they are purchasing
- Checking stock availability (37%) and providing product advice (33%) are considered the most important aspect of the store assistant’s role
- Millennials are more open to personalisation methods than the older generation, with 56% of 18-24s responding they would interact with the store associate more if the experience was personalised compared to 46% of over 55s
- The age group that values the store associate most when shopping is the over 55s (61% of this age group)
Craig Sears-Black, managing director, Manhattan Associates, said: “This research is a clear indication that consumers know what they want and the level of service they expect to receive. The rise of smartphones has placed all the information they need at their fingertips, which makes the store assistant look increasingly redundant when they aren’t equipped with the same. It is a daunting landscape for any retailer, but the ones who embrace the technology available and start providing the seamless, personal, stress-free experience the consumer demands, are the ones that will succeed in the years ahead.”