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Retailers warned to avoid “tangible add-ons” in the push for improved in-store experience

15th Oct 2015
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A new consumer study from Synchrony Financial, The Retail Customer Experience, quantifies what customers value most from bricks-and-mortar retailers, and how strongly those factors drive their behaviour.

Respondents stated the ability to pick their own sale items (the highest-rated item in the survey at 42%), hassle-free returns (41%), best prices without presenting coupons (40%) and the ability to redeem loyalty points for savings (33%) were fundamental to a good retail experience.

However, the responses highlighted the elements consumers value least, and included valet parking (a US-based trend); complimentary drinks and, crucially, access to complimentary tablets and laptops in-store, which highlighted that tangential add-ons in the retail space are not widely regarded as integral to the customer experience.

Mobile devices have been the core technology driving change into bricks-and-mortar retail in recent years, and part of the development of this trend has been the use of tablets in brick-and-mortar stores.

Brands like Apple and Nordstrom have been using mobile devices as in-store point-of-sale (POS) systems for several years, but other companies, including small retailers, franchises and restaurants, have also begun to introduce tablets as a way to drive sales and customer engagement.

Yet Synchrony Financial’s survey suggests retailers are better focusing on the experience taken to a consumer’s own device in-store, as opposed to pushing the experience onto in-store devices.

This was summed up by the fact that good discounts/deals/prices were cited as the top factor (27%) for making purchases in bigger retail outlets and department stores, and also highlights the need for retailers to focus on how to join their omnichannel experience up better and ensure they’re able to offer deals to customer mobile devices on the move.

Location-based marketing is seen as one method for achieving this, and a number of global retailers are in the process of experimenting with technology such as iBeacons in a bid to encourage more in-store spending via deals and coupons served up to customers based on their proximity to a store.

Despite this, according to Adobe’s February Digital Trends 2015 report, just 8% of retailers currently use location-based technologies, compared with 23% of telecoms providers, 18% of financial services, 18% of consumer goods suppliers and 10% of travel and hospitality providers.   

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