Consumers feeling in a dilemma over omni-channel, survey from Periscope, By McKinsey finds


Periscope, By McKinsey, focusing on revenue growth management through price, promotion, and assortment optimisation, has released the findings of new research conducted with US and UK consumers that explores their attitudes and expectations of the online shopping experience.  The survey also looked at attitudes towards omni-channel experiences, finding that, while consumers want these features, they are concerned about whether retailers can be trusted with data.

Asking first how consumers shop, the survey found that in-store shopping still dominates (83% US, 77% UK) with consumers saying it is one of their top ways to shop, followed by ordering online via a computer (59% US, 55% UK).  Whilst the US and UK may be similar in terms of how they use technology to shop, only 2% of US respondents consider ‘buy online, pick up in store’ one of their top two shopping methods, compared with 15% in the UK (where it is known as ‘click & collect’).

Making the omni-channel experience of the future

Omni-channel may not be a term that consumers can define, but the features that it will underpin it do matter to them.  As retailers grapple with the technology and user challenges of creating a link between online and instore shopping, which is key to their future, consumers are ready to jump on board demanding features such as:

  • “To instantly order items that are out of stock in the store via my phone for home delivery” (54% US, 55% UK)
  • “To select items online and be directed to them in the store” (49% US & UK)

But to implement omni-channel solutions that bridge the online and instore experience, retailers must earn the trust of consumers to use the information gathered online and through location-based services or other mobile device data.  60% UK and 62% US respondents currently do not want their online and offline information to be connected to optimize the shopping experience. Something that is a necessity to provide these features.

Pricing is one area that appears to impact trust, with over half of consumers getting frustrated when they see products are priced differently on and offline at the same retailer (54% US, 55% UK), with a smaller number saying that they expect products to be cheaper online (25% US, 23% UK).

Recommendations can lose you sales

Looking specifically at online shopping, the research unveiled that recommendations are only appreciated when relevant, otherwise they can be damaging towards the sale. A quarter of consumers surveyed said they are often put off making a purchase because of recommendations made while browsing (24% US, 26% UK).  However, shoppers overwhelmingly said they were happy to receive recommendations if they were relevant (61% US & UK), with over a third stating online channels “knew them well” (35% UK, 42% US), compared to their offline experience where many said that they saw “no evidence” that stores they visit regularly know them as a consumer (68% UK, 66% US).

Channie Mize, general manager for retail at Periscope, said: “Retailers that can build the bridge between instore and online, as well as bridge the trust gap, are those that will flourish in the future.  It will allow them to deliver experiences that will get customers flocking to their doors and online store.

“Implementing a traditional analytics platform is not enough anymore – retailers have to use new tools to bridge the in-store and online experience with platforms and algorithms that are situation aware and make recommendations in that context. A first step is to move to prescriptive customer analytics to optimize offers for loyal consumers across both online and offline channels.”