By Rick Chavie, VP of OmniCommerce,hybris
Consumers are generally happy about the state of today’s retail marketplace. But there are signs that their love affair with online retail is beginning to wane — and that’s a serious concern for any retailer that sells in the digital space.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s latest report shares that customer satisfaction with the retail industry grew 1.7% in 2013. However, satisfaction with online retail plummeted 4.9%, receiving its lowest score since 2011.
Dated web sites with limited functionality and insufficient product details caused frustration and disappointment among online shoppers last year, driving them to brick-and-mortar stores.
This year, Internet retailers can improve customer satisfaction by solving some of the most common issues that plague online shopping experiences.
- Restricted Delivery Options: Consumers expect online retailers to provide a range of delivery options that enhance the convenience and control of the shopping experience. By offering shoppers flexible delivery options (e.g. buy online/pick-up in-store), online retailers enable consumers to browse, purchase and receive items on their own terms, without having to rely on a third-party delivery service.
- Disjointed Cross-Channel Experiences: In the omnichannel commerce marketplace, consumers want to receive the same high-quality customer experience across all touch points. Online retailers can eliminate the disjointedness that can result from a siloed channel approach with the help of technology. By implementing a robust omnichannel commerce platform, online sellers can optimize the experience for mobile devices and ensure that branding, messaging and customer service are integrated across all available touch points.
- Lack of Product Information: Consumers crave information and content about the products that are important to them. Product reviews generated by other customers make it easier for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions and optimized product content facilitates faster, more accurate product searches for shoppers.
The bottom line is that consumers don’t just want exceptional brick-and-mortar or exceptional online shopping experiences — they want both. In fact, most consumers don’t recognize a distinction and expect to be delighted by a first-rate customer experience, regardless of the mix of channels they use during the course of a single shopping event.
Many omnichannel retailers have focused on reshaping the brick-and-mortar space, and the marketplace has responded by expressing its satisfaction with the changes. But to maintain momentum and business growth, it’s clear that retailers need to also focus on the online experience to fully satisfy consumers.
Rick Chavie is Vice President of OmniCommerce for hybris. He is responsible for creating the OmniCommerce vision and technology platform that enables seamless customer experiences across digital and physical touch points for global and mid-market companies in all major industry verticals. Chavie brings more than 25 years of industry experience including leadership roles at retailers such as The Home Depot and C&A, where he led transformation and growth programs. He has also held executive roles in technology, which include leading the global retail and wholesale business at SAP and leading global marketing and solution deployment for the retail and hospitality business at NCR. He has also served clients across the major retail and wholesale verticals, including hardlines, softlines, and food, and branded consumer manufacturers in his partner and leadership roles at Deloitte and Accenture.