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