Survey reveals retailers on the back foot

Published on the 11/09/2013 | Written by Clare Coulson


Motorola Retail Survey: Technology savvy shoppers know more about products than staff, forcing retailers to catch up.

Even before the customer walks through the door, many retailers face a significant disadvantage. It used to be that customers relied on retailers, on-site, for most or all product information. In today’s omnichannel, digital world, that’s no longer the case. Many customers conduct online research about a given product: price comparisons, product reviews, substitutes, and more. They can also buy many products online. So, retailers aren’t just competing against the store down the street, they’re competing against far-flung warehouses and global distribution channels.

What follows is the story of two complementary surveys: one of 1,231 North American shoppers and another of 393 North American in-store staff and managers (‘associates’). The online surveys were conducted Research Now in late 2011.

Respondent answers yielded important insights following an overarching theme: directly empowering staff and shoppers with the right technology can bridge the digital gap between retailer and shopper, resulting in a more dynamic shopping experience and better bottom line for retailers.

Widening divide
In today’s retail environment, shoppers are more knowledgeable and better prepared than ever. Before even setting foot in a store, they can arm themselves with a wealth of information, easily and quickly available online. Eighty-three percent (83 percent) of retail associates surveyed agreed that “shoppers can easily find a better deal, so customer service is more important than ever.”

While shoppers are leveraging this digital world, many retailers are falling behind. 61 per cent of shoppers surveyed said they were better connected to consumer information – coupons, competitive pricing, and product availability – than were in-store associates.

“Technology can improve in-store and online shopping experiences by allowing me to receive all sorts of information about a product before I purchase it. It is nice to be able to compare prices, read consumer reviews, and read official product reviews before I decide to make a purchase.”
Female shopper, 25-29 years old

The survey paints a clear picture that, especially in certain sectors, customers increasingly prefer online to in-store shopping. Of surveyed shoppers, the average percentage of total holiday budget spent online was 32 percent in 2010. In 2011 it increased to 38 percent. Shoppers are not turning away from the in-store experience in all retail environments, though. According to the survey, preference for in-store shopping remains high for grocery stores, discount stores, shopping clubs and hardware stores (>75 percent of respondents). But in-store shopping is much less preferable in hard goods stores. When it came to books and music shopping, an almost equal number of respondents preferred online as did ones preferring in-store. Respondent preferences were also split down the middle for online versus in-store consumer electronics shopping.

Who responded to the survey?

  • Shopper profile: Respondents represented key shopper demographics including age, household income, and gender.
  • Retailer profile: Respondents included backgrounds representing a wide range of store types and levels of responsibility. Ninety-four percent (94 percent) of respondents spent more than four hours with customers during their shift.

 

% SAYING WOULD MAKE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE BETTER
SELF-USE PRICE CHECKER 

83%

SELF CHECKOUT

65%

ASSOCIATES WITH HANDEHELD MOBILE COMPUTERS WITH SCANNERS

62%

INFORMATION KIOSKS / INTERACTIVE SCREENS

59%

MOBILE DEVICES FOR EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATION

57%

E-RECEIPTS AND E-RETURNS

48%

MOBILE POINT-OF-SALE SOLUTIONS

43%

SHOPPING MAP APP

43%

STORE-PROVIDED WI-FI

38%

Survey background and methodology

Two complementary surveys were fielded from November 26 through  December 13, one targeted to shoppers and the other targeted to  in-store associates, staff, and in-store managers.

  • The surveys were designed to reveal the experiences and attitudes that each group has toward the use of certain shopping technologies and their impact on customer satisfaction.
  • Respondents to the Shopper Survey were selected from the Research Now Consumer Panel to represent a general distribution of the consumer population over 18 years of age. 1,231 respondents completed the Shopper Survey without knowledge of Motorola Solutions sponsorship.
  • 393 respondents completed the Associates Survey without knowledge of Motorola Solutions sponsorship. The Research Now Business Panel represents a wide range of experienced in-store associates who work in full-time or permanent part-time positions.
  • The ‘e-Rewards’ Opinion Panel, operated by Research Now, is the largest “by-invitation-only” online research panel, serving more than 900 research firms with over 3 million respondent members.

The full survey is available (registration is required – 6 page pdf):

DOWNLOAD FULL SURVEY ]


FURTHER INFORMATION//

For more information about Motorola Retail Solutions, or to find an authorised reseller visit
www.motorolasolutions.com.au
www.experienceiseverything.com.au

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