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Among the key findings:
Physical retail is alive and persisting – and increasingly influenced by digital. Today's new shopping journeys recognize the value of physical retail and its particular set of competitive advantages, such as the ability to experience products and services and interact with sales associates. However, shoppers also require seamless cross-channel experiences, and only 49 percent of consumer respondents feel they receive consistent experiences across all channels.
Retailers don't understand what matters most to shoppers. Retailers are experiencing a disconnect between strategy and tactics and what shoppers want most, such as consistent pricing across channels and the ability to make returns regardless of the channel where the initial purchase was made. Seventy-nine percent of shoppers reported pricing consistency as a critical or important requirement, while just 52 percent of retailers agreed.
The role of the sales associate is evolving. Today's digitally-empowered, smart-phone-wielding shoppers expect on-demand sales associates who are facilitators of exceptional shopping experiences. However, just 29 percent of consumer respondents feel sales associates are knowledgeable and helpful.
Retailers are not measuring customer behavior, especially in-store. Retailers understand and agree that in-store technology drives both operational excellence and the overall digital customer experience. However, retailers overwhelmingly struggle to measure customer behavior, and surprisingly few reported the use of key performance indicator metrics in-store, with just 33 percent of retailers reporting they always measure conversion rates.
Forrester Consulting conducted in-depth surveys with 500 consumers and 150 retail decision-makers in the United States and United Kingdom to develop the findings.
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