Majority of consumers ready to leave retailers unable to fulfill digital needs

The 2016 Consumer Trends Report revealSthat digital services are now expected as standard by consumers, with retailers needing to adapt, or risk their losing business altogether. With only 5 percent of consumers surveyed preferring to avoid omnichannel completely, it seems digital services are central to the retail experience.

The study of 3,000 consumers in the US and UK from Kibo identified high digital demands and rising expectations as the defining characteristics of today’s retail experience. In a warning to retailers, the research also found that the digitally demanding consumers’ loyalty is eroding. More than half of US (54%) and UK (56%) shoppers are willing to jump ship to a rival retailer if their preferred method of delivery isn’t available.

With the pace of our everyday lives speeding up, the patience of digitally demanding consumers is wearing thin. Nearly a quarter of Americans and a third of Brits expect short delivery times (two days or less). Four-in-ten (43%) of US, and more than a third (37%) of UK, consumers would prefer to use in-store pickup (click-and-collect) if the option were available. In addition, nearly one-third (29% in both countries) will not buy from retailers unable to offer in-store pick-up or extended payment options (28% UK; 31% US).

“As the marketplace becomes increasingly crowded, retailers need to remain a step ahead with their digital services and fulfilment options to ensure the loyalty of their customers,” said Kenneth Frank, CEO, Kibo. “Most consumers have their preferred places to shop, yet, retailers’ lack of progression toward offering a true omnichannel experience can erode their customers’ loyalty. As such, the only option left open to many consumers is a move to the closest competitor who will.”

“The speed of change in the retail landscape is relentless. Embracing modern technologies is especially crucial for retailers and manufacturers looking to compete with the likes of Amazon and other Internet giants setting the digital benchmark,” Frank continued. “The ability to effectively route orders to match where there’s most demand, using a cost-effective cloud-based advanced order management system, is a critical component of any modern retailer or manufacturer’s armoury. The ability to do this will help ensure customers have no excuse to look elsewhere.”

Rupal Karia, managing director of retail and hospitality, UK and Ireland, Fujitsu “This latest research highlights the growing consensus that retailers who are failing to meet the increasingly digital needs of consumers in an ever expanding multichannel landscape, will be the ones who are unable to stay ahead of the curve, and consequently lose out on customers. Our own Digital Inside Out research also found online shopping to be the most valued digital service by 63% of consumers and that one in four consumers will always use a digital option (when available) when it comes to retail. With a variety of different channels now available with the advancement of e and m-commerce, the retail experience is now at the fingertips of consumers around the clock. Consumer demands and expectations at an all-time high and we are seeing growing pressure on retailers to maximise their online and mobile offering, and deliver truly seamless and connected experience.

“Millennials are predicted to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020; they shop how they live, which is 100% connected. With high demands and high expectations, they seek a personalised experience and are increasingly intolerant of organisations who do not provide the level of experience they seek, and as research has shown, will look to other retailers if they are able to provide the services they demand.  The Holy Grail is to create a consistent cross channel experience and few have succeeded.

“Many consumers now use a number of channels before purchase to research and make decisions regarding a product. Retailers need to provide customers with all of the tools to make a fully-informed decision via seamlessly integrated channels, and those who don’t will lose their customers along their decision making journey. It is imperative that retailers ensure all channels are perfectly aligned, enabling customers to move freely from one to the other during their shopping experience. The retailers that ensure they are digital from the inside out and create a balanced, efficient offering that caters for all audiences will be the ones who see success in this digital age.”

Iain Devine, Commercial Director at digital consultancy, Salmon added “These findings from Kibo revealing that one in six consumers are prepared to leave retailers that are unable to fulfil their digital needs isn’t all together surprising. It is evident that consumer behaviour is changing, and with the increased uptake of mobile and online devices, consumers are now online 24/7, easily switching channels to get things done. Mobile and online shopping is no longer just part of the ‘multichannel’ mix, but the focus of it. As more and more consumers use online services to streamline their lives, if retailers are to continue to reach them, it is essential that they provide a strong digital offering. After all, consumers respect and return to brands that make their busy lives easier, fitting in rather than adding on.”

“Clever thinking and smart technology are crucial to understanding the wants and needs of consumers. As the power of e and m commerce continues to grow, retailers must ensure they have a robust strategy in place to cater to growing user demand. Those that lag behind from fear of change must combat this to ensure they have an exceptional online offering to deliver true competitive advantage and future-proof their business.”