This holiday shopping season, customers are increasingly avoiding brick-and-mortar stores in favor of buying online, according to a new report on consumer shopping patterns commissioned by Salesforce titled “2015 Connected Shoppers Report."
In fact, 88 percent of shoppers who avoid going to physical stores during the holiday season do so due to the crowds (82 percent), limited parking (48 percent), convenience of online shopping (48 percent) and a lack of knowledge/service from seasonal employees (24 percent). One of the study's key results is that retailers are failing to leverage technology to create multichannel experiences for shoppers.
The Millennial Divide
“As Black Friday approaches, and with more than $950 billion expected to be spent this holiday season in the United States, new research from Salesforce shows that in order to succeed, retailers need to accelerate digital transformations to provide personalized, 1-to-1 customer journeys for customers,” the company said in a statement.
The failure of retailers to use information technology to their advantage is particularly noticeable when it comes to millennial-age shoppers (ages 18-34), who represent a trillion-dollar market, according to Salesforce.
More than one-third of the Millennials Salesforce surveyed said they would like retailers to use location-based technologies to know who they are when they walk into stores. And almost two-thirds of Millennials responding to the survey said they would be willing to disclose their personal data and social media profiles to brands to get better service.
“To succeed in this new era of the digital shopper, companies need to put customers at the center of everything they do,” said Jodie Fox, co-founder, Shoes of Prey, in the statement. “It’s all about creating a personalized experience for each and every customer whether they are online or in-store.”
More Technology, Please
But even though Millennials are the most enthusiastic about stores using technology to improve the shopping experience, they aren't the only ones. Half of consumers in the survey said they would be more likely to shop at a certain retailer based on the technology store associates use to assist customers. Many shoppers said they want store associates to know what they have previously purchased in the store or online, but only 10 percent said they actually expect them to do so.
Despite the desire to see retailers better leverage technology to improve customer service, 61 percent of respondents said they would most likely seek customer service in physical stores if they had issues with gifts or purchases, rather than over e-mail, online chat, or through social media. But almost half said that they typically know more about a particular product than in-store staff.
Although the disconnect between what consumers want from in-store staff and what they expect has grown enormously, the findings indicate an opportunity for retailers, according to Salesforce. “Stores who empower associates to fix customer issues through their own budgets or decision-making freedom stand to benefit the most,” Salesforce said. As for retailers who fail to empower their staff members, the company said that more than a fourth of consumers surveyed felt that the associates could be replaced by robots.
The Salesforce survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Salesforce from October 28-30, 2015 among 2,046 adults ages 18 and older.
Frank KM, Dar-Tanzania:
Posted: 2015-11-25 @ 3:21am PT
As a person who is dealing with Sales though of Insurance Services, it makes very interesting reading and is certainly useful!