August 24, 2007, 12:00 AM

Ready or not, consumers expect a cross-channel experience

Consumers’ expectations of multi-channel shopping are high, says a survey from Sterling Commerce. An example: 57% want to return or exchange an item at a store, regardless of where they bought it.

Consumers’ expectations of a multi-channel shopping experience are high, says a new survey from Sterling Commerce, a unit of AT&T; Inc. that provides order management, fulfillment and supply chain technology to retailers.
• The survey of 5,000 consumers in July showed that 57% want to return or exchange items at a store, regardless of whether they bought the item online, in a store or from a catalog.
• 65% expect to be able to cancel or modify an order via a store, the web site or a call center regardless of which channel they used to place the order.
• 55% believe that it is important to be able to complete an order via a store, the web site or a call center regardless of which channel they used to place the order.

“As retailers ramp up for the biggest shopping event of the year - the holidays - their readiness to address today’s cross-channel customer’s expectations could decide their success,” said Jim Bengier, global retail industry executive for Sterling Commerce. “The cross-channel experience has created today’s ‘spoiled consumer,’ and it raises the bar for every retailer. Retailers who are able to meet and exceed these needs will maintain a loyal customer base and ensure future purchases.”

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