While retailers strive to create seamless customer experiences across channels, it seems they still have a long way to go before bridging the omnichannel fulfillment gap.
Only 31.6% of consumers describe the process of collecting items ordered online in the store as “smooth,” according to the Great Omnichannel Expectations Shopper Survey from iVend Retail. Conversely, 67.8% describe their online shopping experiences as “smooth,” suggesting retailers still need to refine their delivery of seamless omnichannel shopping experiences.
The dissatisfaction with buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS) processes represents a significant area of opportunity for retailers, since more than half (57%) of U.S. and Canadian consumers said they have ordered an item online for collection in a store.
When it comes to choosing BOPIS, most consumers (65.3%) simply want to save on shipping costs. “Many consumers don’t like paying for shipping, and they also don’t want to be inconvenienced by waiting for deliveries,” the report said. “Consider, as well, the widespread reports of packages not being delivered in time for the holidays in recent years, which has understandably led to customers’ frustrations.”
To improve BOPIS, the report suggests brands should utilize knowledge of previously purchased items so as to arm sales associates for cross-sell opportunities upon collection. Logistically, retailers would have to master new stock allocation and storage processes for BOPIS to function effectively, as brands that continue to allocate stock for each channel individually will be burdened by excess inventory.
Shoppers Willing To Share Purchase Histories
Consumers don’t just want smoother omnichannel shopping experiences; they also desire more relevant experiences to make the journey quicker and easier. The sticking point may be that shoppers are more willing to share some types of data than others. Among North American consumers, the following percentages of consumers find it acceptable for retailers to track:
Customers’ purchase histories (68.3%);
Which items a shopper browses online (41%);
How much shoppers spend (31%); and
What shoppers look at in the store (30.6%).
Overall, 42.8% are okay with retailers collecting data, but they don’t want to be bombarded with marketing information. Up to 37.5% of consumers want to have a say in what type of data retailers are collecting, regardless of incentive, and 31.5% say it is okay for retailers to collect data if they get something in return.
Although retailers make it a point to collect data for consumer targeting purposes, they also should take the initiative to inform shoppers about the choices they can make throughout their omnichannel journey. The survey revealed that 47% of shoppers research an item online a single time, and 31.8% research an item more than once before purchasing.
Mobile Growth Sparks Consumer Interest In Digital Kiosks, Push Notifications
With more mobile technology at their fingertips, consumers now feel there are additional ways to improve the in-store experience. Shoppers want to have access to information they can find themselves through:
Kiosks or digital help kiosks (36.9%);
Offers sent directly to the phone upon entering the store (33.5%); and
Free WiFi (46.4%).
Sales assistance via human interaction falls below these technology options. While 26.5% of shoppers said retail sales associates using tablets can improve in-store shopping experiences, only 12.5% want product recommendations this way.
“Regardless of how you provide access to information, the message is clear: Provide it,” the report recommended. “Ensure your e-Commerce site contains all of the information your customers need to make purchasing decisions, and make sure customers can access it, or endless aisle solutions, while shopping in stores.”
To measure consumers’ perceptions of omnichannel retailing, iVend Retail surveyed 1,000 consumers aged 18 or older, including 750 in the U.S. and 250 in Canada. Respondents included a broad cross section of consumers, with a mix of socioeconomic backgrounds, employment status and educational levels designed to be as representative as possible of today’s shopper.