Shoppers continue to desire fast, convenient service through all channels, so retailers may want to turn to a somewhat unlikely source for inspiration: pizza delivery services. According to a report from retail marketing agency Catalyst, convenience is the top motivator for consumers throughout their shopping experience.
“If you’re a local retailer that can deliver a product in 30 minutes or less, that’s a game changer that even Amazon wouldn’t be able to compete with,” said Tara Litchfield, Director of Experience Design at Catalyst in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “People like to support local businesses, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity for stores with a technology that is out today.”
With that in mind, retailers need to put a primary focus on optimizing various factors both in-store and online to ensure shoppers always get this convenience, including:
Web site navigation simplicity;
Ease of purchase and return;
Time and ease of checkout;
Time to receive the product;
Time to drive to pick up/get the product; and
Difficulty in returning the product.
“We know that people don’t just look online and then go to a store,” Litchfield said. “A lot of times there’s a back-and-forth where they do a lot of research online, then they go to the store, then they purchase online. It can work the other way around as well. There are all kinds of different ways people are coming at the same products, so you want to look at how different segments of customers discover how they’re approaching the process of purchase in this company, and then target your marketing to that shared interest from that customer base.”
Whether they’re seeking out quick delivery, free returns, or an in-store experience, shoppers’ thirst for convenience is forcing retailers to spend more on their omnichannel fulfillment programs. While brands are certainly balancing a budget that may prevent them from achieving these goals, the Catalyst report suggests retailers need to think about offering free one-hour delivery from store-to-door, so that customers don’t have to go to the store to pick up merchandise.
Beyond convenience, the report indicated that shoppers value these four motivators:
Good customer service;
Product quality; and
Value for money.
Surprisingly, all four of these factors came out ahead of price. According to the survey, shoppers thought it was more important to buy a quality product with a good warranty from a reputable company than to get the lowest price. Customers did not want to search for discounts and coupons to get the best deal, but they would do so if needed.
The Catalyst study contained information from one-hour online focus groups of 55 geographically diverse, multichannel retail shoppers who had made at least one large purchase in the last year.
Nordstrom, The Home Depot Share Top In-Store Experiences
Survey respondents cited Nordstrom most often for being a preferred in-store experience, because sales staff put in extra effort to be helpful, courteous, knowledgeable, and accommodating, without being pushy. Additionally, respondents indicated that Home Depot salespeople were very knowledgeable about home improvements and offered honest product advice.
“We’ve seen that people in the store are really looking to access technology touch points,” Litchfield said. “They appreciate digital signage and mobile companion applications within the store, because in most cases they don’t really set out going to a store thinking they want to talk to somebody. Ultimately, in the end, they may want to do that before they make a decision, but most of the time, people are going in these stores because they want to experience the product itself. If it’s a shirt, they need to try it on. If it’s a couch they need to sit on it.”