Retail brands need to refine touchpoints to keep customers, says survey

The more channels a retailer has, the more confusing is for their consumers, according to a new report by Omnico. 

The first Omnico Retail Gap Barometer looked at interactions 1200 consumers had with retailers across the channels they offer and found experience varied depending on the channel. 

For example, 62% of consumers said they had a seamless experience more than once online and in-store, this went down to 39% when apps, phone and social media were added in. 

Most consumers go for the touchpoints that are fast and convenient - meaning these are the ones they'll choose when interacting with a brand, the survey said.

Retailers still find it impossible to deliver the personalised, consistent experience that is now expected at every touch-point

Contrary to burgeoning popular belief, most consumers prefer an in-store shopping experience when it comes to retail, with 42% of customers surveyed saying so.

Interestingly, only 9% said buying online and collecting in a third party location was their favourite.

Returns and stock

Consumers were also rather vocal when it comes to stock and returns - something you may also need to factor into your marketing to create visibility around. 

Nearly half of customers said visibility of stock in stores if products aren't available online was very poor to average. And on returns, consumers were rather vocal: 84% said a free returns policy was very important or essential to their decision to buy. 

And how items are returned are important too. 40% of consumers said they want to return goods by any method, irrespective of how they were bought and a third had a poor to average experience when returning goods bought online. 

“Shopping has changed rapidly, with customers now routinely hopping between channels. Yet retailers have not kept up with changing tech and are now held back by siloed organisational structures and creaking old systems," said Mel Taylor, CEO of Omnico Group.

"This makes it incredibly difficult to build an accurate picture of customers’ shopping habits and preferences and offer them the same stock options, offers and promotions, regardless of whether they are shopping in-store, online, via mobile applications or catalogue. Retailers still find it impossible to deliver the personalised, consistent experience that is now expected at every touch-point.

"These problems must be addressed. If retailers duck the challenge, their brands will be irreparably damaged as shoppers go elsewhere," he added. 

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