In-Store Tech Improves the CX But Out-of-Stocks Still Plague Retailers
Zebra Technologies Corporation's 2017 Global Shopper Study revealed that while 44 percent of surveyed shoppers are still not satisfied with staff availability and customer service, overall shopper satisfaction has significantly improved since the study’s inception a decade ago.
Zebra provides rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility.
While four in 10 shoppers surveyed in Zebra’s 10th annual retail survey cited being better connected to consumer information than store associates, more than half believe store associates armed with the latest technology improve the overall shopping experience. And although 44 percent of in-store and 53 percent of online shoppers remain dissatisfied with the returns/exchange process, 62 percent of those surveyed appreciated associates’ use of handheld mobile devices in-store.
"Sales associates armed with the right technology tools are better equipped to serve customers and increase revenue by providing the visibility and actionable insight into product information, inventory and fulfillment options that bring the online experience into the physical store," said Zebra CMO Jeff Schmitz.
Rising shopper expectations continue to outpace retailer in-store technology investments as a majority of Millennial shoppers perceive that they are more connected than store associates. When asked about how well connected they are with consumer information, 53 percent of Millennial shoppers believe they are better connected than store associates — compared to 32 percent of Gen X shoppers and 15 percent of boomer shoppers.
Shoppers want faster delivery, but many aren’t willing to pay for it. Heightened customer expectations for delivery are transforming the retail landscape. While 66 percent of shoppers want next-day or same-day delivery and 37 percent prefer same-day or sooner, 27 percent would not want to pay for shipping at any speed.
Retail customers want a variety of fulfillment options. The majority, 80 percent, of those surveyed purchase items in-store and either take them home or ship from store to home. Shoppers are also taking advantage of other fulfillment options, such as buy online — ship to home (64 percent), buy online — pick up in-store (34 percent) and buy online- ship to alternative location (15 percent).
The use of tablets in stores is improving the shopper experience. More than half of surveyed shoppers believe technology is improving the shopping experience with 57 percent specifically citing store associates using tablets.
Out-of-stocks continue to plague retailers. When shopping in-store, 70 percent of shoppers have left without purchasing what they were seeking. However, when it comes to out-of-stock issues, retailers can recover six in 10 incidents with discounts or alternative fulfillment options, such as ship to home.
“The results of the 2017 Shopper Study indicate consumers around the world believe that retailers have come a long way over the past decade to enhance the in-store shopping experience, but shopper expectations continue to rise at an exponential rate," said Schmitz. "Retailers continue to invest in their physical stores; we see this with an increasing overall store count and growth in convenience and mass merchant retail."
Results by region
Fifty-eight percent of North American shoppers said they have “show-roomed,” or looked at items in a store and purchased them online.
Meanwhile, in Europe and the Middle East, 64 percent of shoppers would be willing to purchase more merchandise if they received better customer service and 52 percent value retailers that use technology to make the shopping experience more efficient.
Nearly one-half (48 percent) of Latin American shoppers trust sharing personal data with retailers. Moreover, retailers rank low on the list of institutions that shoppers trust with personal data.
In Asia-Pacific, 32 percent of shoppers would prefer to go to a retail store to pick up items purchased online or through mobile channels. More than half of shoppers in both Asia-Pacific and Europe are interested in Wi-Fi and location-based in-store services such as mobile coupons.
Zebra’s 10th annual shopper study included nearly 7,500 shoppers from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East who were interviewed in September 2017 by online research partner Qualtrics.