Do Customers and Retailers See Eye to Eye?

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By Published On: October 16, 20190 Comments

Retailers like to think they know what customers want, and customers think they know the secrets of retail. However, they may not see as eye-to-eye as one might believe. 

In a new study by Oracle Retail, retailers are failing to meet the expectations of customers, and in many cases are ‘missing on the fundamentals’. From returns to an in-store experience, the two share majorly different views.

Customer Experience … As Told by Retailers

It’s no surprise that customer experience is one of the biggest trending aspects of retail, both online and in-store. From a speedy e-commerce site to live chat, there’s a myriad of ways that a retailer can improve on its CX, but do customers actually care?

According to the study by Oracle, 56 per cent of consumers consider convenience as the highest priority for customer experience; this includes factors such as having items in stock. In contrast, only 34 per cent of retailers consider it to be a top priority. According to the study, when asked about in-store channels, immersive brand experience is ranked first ‘albeit by one percentage point’.

“Across all channels, 51 per cent of consumers associate convenience with a great shopping journey, over and above an immersive brand experience (35 per cent), discovery (35 per cent) and advice (20 per cent),” explained a spokesperson from Oracle.

Discovery of products is a key factor for customers, too. According to Oracle Retail, customers rank product discovery ‘as in space to experiment and try new products’ at 36 per cent – something that retailers only rate at 18 per cent. Moreover, consumers rank expert advice at a 22 per cent of importance, whereas only six per cent of retailers rank it as a priority.

Who’s Doing it Right?

Brands that are doing well include The Iconic, Surfstitch and Cotton On. “According to the dotdigital report, the most successful brands are promoting their omnichannel presence by adding social media links in the footer of their newsletters. Mobile apps, which supplement websites with consistent experiences, were also featured with strong calls to actions,” explained Tink Taylor from dotdigital.

“SurfStitch emerged as the leader for email marketing. The brand is using a data-driven approach to welcome new subscribers, sending them an ‘At Your Service’ welcome email. Stylish photography and engaging content across its campaigns make it easy for consumers to get in touch with the retailer by using automated questions on Facebook Messenger.”

‘Easy’ Returns are Actually Tricky

While retailers struggle to maintain a happy balance between ‘easy’ returns at a cost-effective price, it seems that customers don’t think it’s ‘easy’ enough. The report found that customers believe that an ‘easy’ returns policy is actually a ‘complete hassle’ and could be a lot easier to complete. In contrast, 57 per cent of retailers believe that their returns policy is ‘very easy’.

“Maximising the return journey and taking the opportunity to better understand their customer is something a few select retailers have dialled in. Moving from returns management to capitalizing on the moment requires a shift in thinking and processes to allow for better intelligence gathering,” the report found.

Where Can Retailers Improve?

Ultimately, if a retailer says they ‘listen’ to the customer, it’s imperative that they actually do. It’s one thing to say you provide ‘excellent’ customer service, but if the reviews don’t back up this claim, you may be missing out on something. Put out a survey to your customers and ask them what they do and don’t like. Although you may end up with some concepts that you’re already planning to fix, there could be a missed opportunity that has gone over the brand’s head.

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About the Author: Power Retail

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