A new study from InMoment reveals that despite the convenience of shopping online and high satisfaction with digital-only retailers, consumers still value the in-store experience and human contact.
The 2017 Retail Trends Report, by customer experience optimization leader InMoment, surveyed more than 30,000 consumers over three months. The study illuminates shifting consumer expectations for the entire range of the customer experience across sectors, spanning digital and physical interactions. The report reveals that a positive experience with a staff member increases customer satisfaction, on average, by 33 percent across industries. And when choosing to shop in-store, one in three consumers does so because of a previously positive customer experience.
The report indicates that human touch still plays a major role in the era of e-tailers and automation, and that different touchpoints impact how and when a customer wants a personalized experience. More than half of consumers (54 percent) said they value staff who are knowledgeable about products and services; recognize past purchasing patterns and needs; and are aware of loyalty membership status. Millennials especially value this level of personalization, with 65 percent reporting they appreciate staff armed with this information.
“Technology has changed the relationship between consumers and retailers. Interactions are happening across a wide range of digital, voice and in-person touchpoints, and there’s more competition than ever for both mindshare and share of wallet,” said Brennan Wilkie, senior vice president of customer experience strategy at InMoment. “Digital-only retailers have upped the ante with expedited shipping and personalized product recommendations, but our retail trends report shows there’s still a lot of value in meaningful human interaction, which technology can never replace. The retailers that learn to strike the right balance between automation and human interaction will be uniquely positioned to thrive in this new era of retail.”
The report also found that just 13 percent of consumers say they see value in personalized advertising — a number that falls to 10 percent for millennials. These findings indicate that there’s a time and a place for personalization, and most consumers value tailored, meaningful interactions over retargeted ads.
Other key findings from the report include:
- Consumers are most satisfied (54 percent) with the customer experience at digital-only retailers, the highest of all verticals.
- Consumers rated location (63 percent), previously good customer experiences (33 percent), and overall quality of products and services (28 percent) as the top three reasons they shop in-store. The qualitative data sheds more light on these ratings, with consumers describing their desire to see, touch and feel some products.
- Year-over-year, multi-department stores saw a 4 percent decrease in satisfaction with staff interactions, the biggest decline across industries.
- Home improvement brick-and-mortar retailers boast the highest customer satisfaction levels (46 percent), while fashion and sports brick-and-mortar retailers come in at the bottom.