Consumers Want These 4 Things: What Retailers Can Do To Deliver Them
It is no secret that the retail industry is under tremendous pressure to innovate. In a technology-driven world, it only makes sense that retailers are trying to implement the best of the best to stay in stride with powerhouses like Amazon.
However, sometimes less is more. When surveyed, many consumers expressed that a lot of the innovations retailers are placing their bets on, like AI and virtual shopping assistants, are missing the mark and their expectations. This has created an unintentional disconnect between retailers and consumers, opening the door to more nimble players to step in and make the sale. For example, 73% of retailers believe their in-store environment is more inviting today, while only 45% of consumers believe this to be true.
Save your budget and your consumer’s loyalty by exploring the following stats of what consumers actually want to see in your stores.
#1: Just-Right Personalization
80% of consumers feel they aren’t provided with a personalized shopping experience both online and in-store. 38% of consumers feel they never have had a personalized experience.
Personalization is a tricky word that constantly floats around retail. If you aren’t offering a personalized experience, you are behind the curve. On the flip side, too much personalization comes across as invasive. But what exactly defines just-right personalization?
Personalization should always happen on your customer’s terms. While this is challenging, actively seeking feedback on your personalization and letting your customer’s response to it guide the segmentation is the key to better nurturing your customer base. This lends itself into increased engagement, increased customer loyalty, and delighting customers versus coming across as invasive.
Be sure to always communicate when data is being collected and clearly explain what the data is being used for, to better their experience, and how the data is being protected. With 58% of consumers feeling uncomfortable with the way technology is currently used to personalize the in-store experience, this is key to keeping your customer’s trust.
#2: Intentional Technologies
98% of retailers believe technology will increase foot traffic, but only 33% of consumers will be more enticed to walk into a store that features this tech, and only 14% of consumers will be more enticed to purchase something because of this.
It is easy to place bets on any technology that promises a higher engagement with customers, especially in a time of rapidly changing consumer behaviors. However, sometimes less is more. Customers are adapting alongside retail, and anything that adds to their learning curve versus lessening it is not ideal.
Look for technologies that better assist the natural flows and pain points many customers are feeling, such as long wait lines outside of stores and not being able to try on clothing. Try to keep the learning curve to a minimum with supplements to current processes that customers have come to expect from your brand.
Be sure to regularly survey your customer base to ensure that all moves made are those that your customers really want to see. This will both delight your customers and preserve your bottom line.
#3: Easy, Seamless Experiences
53% of consumers felt some type of negative emotion the last time they walked into a store.
Both retailers and customers alike are overwhelmed as the closed signs flip back to open for in-store retail. In fact, many surveyed customers have felt less than delighted during their last trip out. Between juggling various social distancing guidelines, masks, and more, many customers are choosing to avoid stores all together by shopping online.
To aid this, focus on understanding your customer’s full journey from the time they walk into your store until checkout. What pain points are they feeling now that maybe they hadn’t before and where can your brand step in to alleviate these?
Many retailers have experimented with self-checkouts, digital receipts, virtual try-on for clothing, and improved digital experiences via free in-store WiFi and mobile applications. For those that are not quite ready to have a full in-store experience, solutions like optimized order tracking and curbside have seen large adoption rates.
#4: Lowered Expectations of Social
While 98% of retailers feel that engaging with customers on social media is important to building relationships, only 12% of consumers feel this has a significant impact.
As digital channels took the cake with regards to customer engagement during COVID-19, many customers felt bombarded with messaging and advertisements on their personal networks. Given the high usage of social media, it is natural for retailers to think this is where customers are going to build a relationship with their brand. While 44% of retailers feel that “getting to know the brand” is one of consumers’ top 3 reasons, only 26% of consumers report this.
Your customers want you to lessen your expectations of their relationship with you on social media. When surveyed, most consumers said they engage with brands to find sales and promotions (42%), or learn about new products (36%) versus learning more about the brand itself.
Don’t inundate their networks with excessive posting, but instead pursue a content-centric strategy that allows for increased engagement while delivering their expectations of learning about new products and sales.