Retail Week Reports: The Consumer 2014
Things change in retail, but not that quickly:
customers still mainly start their shopping journey in store.
41.5% describe their shopping behaviour as mainly in store
29% describe their shopping behaviour as mainly online
We are human though and the path to purchase is not quite so cut and dried in a world with so many options and variables.
One consistent driver is still price. No surprises in consumer behaviour there. We like to know we are paying a reasonable price – after all we work hard to earn our pay – and online is the easiest way to compare. However, for many items we instinctively need to touch as it gives us emotional satisfaction and affirms our decision to purchase.
I do like to see that those retailers offering good service and plentiful staff stand out. Almost 1 in 5 place customer service in their top two choices for the thing they value most in a store. We need to train our staff, make them knowledgeable, motivate them and encourage them to be happy to help us. Education at work is an area of communication design I’m particularly interested in, as it makes such difference to people’s everyday lives. Over our lifetime, we spend many hours working, so let’s make it enjoyable and interesting!
Our number two priority online is making it easy for customers to find what they want and complete the order. 64.6% rank it in their top five and 45% in their top two priorities. It still seems that few retailers are getting this right but those that do are seen as ‘amazing performers, head and shoulders above the rest’. High quality digital design and good technology prove to be well worth the investment.
Getting quality service both in store and online simultaneously is more of a challenge it seems. John Lewis continues to win my admiration and I am a loyal customer even after 15+ years. Why? They offer a good well designed in store experience, with quality products, happy and knowledgeable staff, outstanding customer service, and an online service to match with a choice of delivery options. The only down side, which they are starting to address with their their Kin clothing range, is a lack of quirky and more eclectic products for the more design savvy customer.
Recently, I had an outstanding multi channel experience at a small London store. I tried on some garments but they didn’t have one in my size. At the till, the assistant included, with my other purchases, the item in my correct size, which was then sent direct to my home within 24 hours, along with a free returns label. Thank you Bravissimo – a fabulous service with happy and informed staff, and a fast and efficient service. THIS is the future of retail.
The full Retail Week Report on The Consumer 2014 is available online to Retail Week subscribers.