As customer expectations of what a consistent omni-channel retail experience constitutes continue to grow, brands that don’t live up face harsh punishments in terms of lost sales and revenue.
Research carried out on behalf of supply chain specialists Zetes shows exactly how little patience the modern consumer has when a retail experience doesn’t meet their expectations.
The survey of over 2,000 consumers and 214 retailers across Europe, found that 70% of customers would not be willing to wait for more than five minutes in-store to see if something was in stock. 30% reported being unwilling to wait more than two minutes.
There is a similar picture online. 30% of shoppers looking for homeware and 31% of fashion shoppers abandon the whole purchase and find another supplier if their desired item is not in stock.
This equates to a heavy financial cost for the brands on the receiving end. The homeware brands surveyed reported losing up to 33% of their sales.
High expectations also abound when it comes to delivery. 31% of respondents consider never using a retailer again if one delivery is late.
The need for strong supply-chains
The answer would seem to be real-time inventory monitoring combined with a single point of view whereby individuals across the organisation and channels can pinpoint the status of items.
81% of the surveyed retailers agreed that they needed this kind of capability, but only 31% have so far attempted to achieve it.
Less than a third of retailers offer customers a view of their inventory levels across all store locations. 45% offer no access to inventory at all.
20% use a system that updates in real time, and 19% of store associates are able to check product availability on a mobile.
“While the intent is clear and retailers are heavily focused on improving the customer experience, the lack of real-time visibility across the supply chain is constraining them and is potentially causing more problems, and more lost revenue, than many realise,” Gareth Thomas, retail business consultant at Zetes, said.
“With the new war against competition fought not just on price and quality but on the ability to respond to the customer’s ever-changing and increasing expectations, achieving fast marginal gains and complete visibility throughout the supply chain will be a major differentiator in 2017 and will impact heavily on customer loyalty in the future.”