Consumer expectation and retail capability a world apart, says new study

A study from Zetes and Zebra Technology has shown there to be a chasm between modern consumer expectation and the capability of the most independent retailers.

Drawing on feedback from 2,200 European consumers and over 200 senior retail professionals, the study sought to find how close to meeting millennial shopping habits retailers presently are.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 87% of consumers will not seek a shopping assistant if an item appears to be unavailable in store
  • 30% of consumers will walk out after no more than 2 minutes if it is not evident by then whether their desired item is in stock
  • 78% of consumers have a tolerance of three experiences of late or incomplete orders before the “blacklist” that retailer
  • Just 20% of retailers are presently using automated systems to update stock listings in real time
  • 58% of returned products are not once again re-listed for sale inside an hour
  • Around 30% will abandon an online shopping session or go to a competitor’s website if an item was shown to be not in stock
  • 58% will be less likely to use a retailer’s services again if the returns process seems challenging
  • Just 36% of retailers have achieved a single view of inventory with accurate and real-time visibility and proactive monitoring. Despite this, 81% see this as a critical importance for the future
  • 58% of stores are now click and collect ready
  • 45% of consumers expect the sales associate to be able to order a product on their behalf online for delivery
  • Employees typically spend around 30% of their working time handling inventory management
  • 44% of consumers (particularly in the fashion world) are placing orders with a view to returning at least some of the items
  • 18% of retailers plan to bring in mobile payment terminals, with 14% set to hand store associates devices to help manage orders on the shop floor

Writing in the executive summary, the report begins: “Over the next 12 to 24 months, the store will increasingly be repositioned as a destination, a place where retailers can define a lifestyle, provide intuitive product knowledge and, critically, fulfill customer expectations.

“The research reveals that retailers are generally aware of this (consumer expectations), but there is a significant gap between customer expectation and reality. The winners will be the retailers who can achieve flawless on shelf availability and order fulfillment, enhance visibility and empower store associates to nurture the customer relationship. Building brand loyalty through a high quality and consistent service will have a significant bearing on a customer’s perception of experience.”

You can catch the full report here.