Retailers need to improve cross-channel and in-store shopping

Consumers say having real-time product availability is the biggest improvement stores could make to get them to come and shop.

Allison Enright

Consumers want store retailers to step up their game and make it worth their time to go into stores, according to a survey released this week from consulting firm Accenture.

While 21% of the 750 U.S. adult respondents to the November online survey say they plan to spend more in stores this year, 40% say retailers need to improve the overall experience of shopping in stores. Consumers most want to know that a store has what they are looking for in stock, with 31% of respondents citing it as the improvement that would best improve in-store shopping. 89% of respondents say that they will travel to a store or buy from a retailer’s e-commerce site if the retailer has real-time product availability information.

Consumers also want consistency, the survey finds. 69% of respondents expect prices to be the same online and in store, and 57% expect promotions to be consistent across channels. 51% expect the products featured on a retailer’s e-commerce site to also be available in store, and vice versa.

Based on survey participants’ responses, many retailers aren’t delivering on expectations, at least according to the consumers surveyed. 31% say they will find better prices online than in stores, up from 21% who said the same a year earlier. 69% say their customer accounts aren’t connected across web and store channels, and just less than a third of consumers, 32% say they can earn and use loyalty points across the shopping channels of their favorite retailers. More respondents also say they are using “click and collect”-type services this year than last year to big up web orders in stores. 19% of respondents to the most recent survey say they are reserving or buying a product online and picking it up at a nearby store, up from 12% who said they used this type of service a year ago.

“Those retailers able to integrate the physical store with the rest of their digital capabilities can gain a true competitive advantage,” says Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s retail practice.

For more on what retail chains need to do to appease customers across sales channels, read the story Change is Required from the February issue of Internet Retailer magazine.


Accenture, marketing technology, online pricing, product availability, retail chains