The underlying theme of these battlegrounds: to create an immersive, seamless, brand-defining experience for consumers across all channels, one that will keep them coming back.
Dynamic pricing allows for real-time adjustments. Disruptors are now competing on speed, variety and convenience. In fact, shoppers told us their motivation for shopping online isn’t always dictated by price; 48% selected convenience as the main reason for shopping online. Across all channels, however, low price continues to dominate shopping decisions for 59% of shoppers. 35% of shoppers use price comparison sites for their inspiration and 38% start their product search at Amazon.
Keep 'em coming back! Brand loyalty, while hard-won, is not easy to shake and 65% of UK shoppers consider themselves to be loyal shoppers, versus 61% globally. That's good news for retailers who have cultivated close ties with shoppers over many years. It also reinforces the power of one-to-one connections with customers via personalisation, which new entrants online cultivate rigorously.
Hurry, hurry, hurry! Cost-prohibitive last-mile delivery issues continue to challenge retailers who are experimenting with a combination of options in response to customer preferences for speedy delivery. 29% of UK shoppers say that fast and reliable delivery (same day, collect from store or designated place) and a 28% good returns policy (free or return to store) are reasons for shopping with their favourite retailer.
Product knowledge is power! Ultimately, UK retailers need to entice customers to interact with them in-store — to keep them coming back. To do this, they need to provide a convenient, frictionless in-store experience, with the added advantage of knowledgeable sales staff who can explain product offerings, the number-one preference of in-store shoppers, ahead of ambience. It is important, perhaps more than ever before, for retailers to invest in talent and the training and development of their in-store associates.
This is a key opportunity for UK brands looking to attract new customers from overseas, as 44% of global shoppers say they need to see and touch the product before purchasing.
Make it simple and beautiful! For a technology platform to succeed, it has to be part of an overarching digital strategy that encompasses the entire organization — rather than an ad hoc point-in-time initiative. Respondents to our survey were more open to using mobile payment via smartphone this year than they were last year and since 2014 there has been a 39% increase in the number of consumers using their phone for purchases at least once a year. However, almost one in three Digital Natives find that mobile websites are not easy to use.
Focus on what will make a difference! Continual experimentation and ongoing course correction is at the core of disruptors’ success — even when they are ahead of the game. From self-checkout devices to circumvent long check-out lines to touchscreen fitting-room mirrors that offer immediate help from sales associates, retailers are experimenting with a number of options to make the shopping experience simple, convenient, personal, and engaging.
In particular, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality, Wearable technology, voice and connected home devices offer exciting opportunities for the retail sector.