The latest retail sales figures from the Visa’s monthly consumer spending index reiterate the belief that in a market of great choice, retailers struggle when they do not invest in a seamless customer experience. This is according to e-commerce systems integrator Tryzens, who has urged retailers to review and update their digital capabilities if they are to weather the current storm.
Announced this week, Visa’s report revealed that spending in “face-to-face” shops and e-commerce fell by 2 percent in April compared with the previous year, the biggest fall since 2012. This came after a 2.9 percent fall in March. Consumer spending has now fallen in 11 of the past 12 months on this measure underlining speculation that the UK is expected to see negative growth in 2018, which some commentators have stated may see the UK become the third fastest declining retail market in the world.
Commenting on the figures, Andy Burton, CEO of Tryzens, said: “All is not doom and gloom as there are clear winners and losers in retail. Those that succeed are able to unify a compelling customer experience across their channels, be they in-store or online, ensuring they keep in step with a society that thrives online more than ever. All evidence points to an increasingly online future in retail, but brick and mortar retailers needn’t miss out and have a unique opportunity to improve and align consumer experience. These latest industry figures should act as a reminder to retailers that the future is in winning hearts, minds and, therefore, loyalty through a seamless customer experience shared between online channels and in-store.
“Consumers have not stopped spending, but they are exercising more restraint and retailers now need to fight harder to win their share of the customer wallet. The retailers that are winning in the market today are the ones that have perfected their online customer engagement strategies.”
“To prosper in this climate, it is essential to not lose sight of the basics like demonstrating good value and having great products,” Burton continued. “But retailers now go beyond these principles and ensure that there is consistency of offers (and access to them) across channels and a compelling responsive design and experience that works across devices to optimise sales and enhance loyalty. There has never been a better time to leverage the power of online and to delight the consumer, the key is to be intuitive, easy to find and engaging. While many retailers have an e-commerce capability today, we are seeing many of our clients enhance their existing investments in technology to drive greater persistence of personalisation for customers across devices as well as responsive designs to improve mobile conversion and flexible delivery and collection options.
“Consumers now have an unparalleled level of convenience when it comes to shopping, allowing them to make purchases at any time from any place. Therefore retailer’s focus needs to be on improving the customer experience and finding more effective ways to inspire customer loyalty,” Burton concluded.