Stores must speed up their customer service to survive, says new report

Speed and convenience top consumers’ motivations for choosing to shop in-store, directly impacting bricks-and-mortar conversions, a new report from PCMS, a global provider of unified commerce solutions, reveals.

Original research in the In Full Flight Embrace The Pace: Are You Running With Customers Or Letting Them Race Away From You’ Report, which polled 2,000 UK consumers, revealed that while 70% of shoppers still use the store to physically interact with products to validate their purchasing decision, shoppers’ motivations for using the bricks-and-mortar channel are centred around speed and convenience.

FIfty eight per cent of shoppers cite immediacy as their main reason for using the store to make purchases, meaning they don’t have to wait for the product to be delivered, with 39% saying the store is more convenient than online and almost a third (30%) perceiving the speed of service to be quicker in-store compared to online.

Eighty four per cent of shoppers agreed that quick and helpful customer service would make them most likely to shop with a retailer again, followed by quick check out and payment options (44%).  43% of shoppers say they will become less tolerant of slow checkout times over the next five years.

A further 44% would be more likely to choose a retailer that offers a quick and convenient service over retailers they had been loyal to in the past, but couldn’t offer the same speed of service.

And, the report suggests, the pace at which consumers expect service to be delivered as part of their bricks-and-mortar shopping journeys is unlikely to slow down; over a third 34% of UK shoppers expect in-store service to be delivered faster over the next five years.

Steve Powell, director of sales at PCMS, commented: “Speed and convenience are central to creating positive in-store customer experiences and conversions, however, our recent research suggests that half of shoppers find the speed and quality of the customer service they experience variable.  In-store, where immediacy and support are the key customer benchmarks, retailers’ roadmaps need to prioritise areas like availability – for example, by empowering front-line staff with point of sale technology, which enables effective problem-solving interactions through access to operational and customer data.”

For further information on enhancing your agile retail capabilities to address the demands of connected consumers, download the full report: