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Click-and-collect the key to customer experience in retail?

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10th Jun 2014
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Enhancing customer experience might be the zeitgeist for many retailers with a High Street presence, but what physical changes should they be making? According to results from Vanson Bourne research commissioned by Qmatic, retailers themselves believe the most important factor over the coming 12 months will be reducing in-store queues by improving their click-and-collect availability.

Not the most revolutionary of prospects, but according to the associated survey of over 100 UK retail bosses, 80% of shops which currently offer click and collect are predicting a 15% increase in demand for their service in the next year, while the primary objective for 50% is to reduce the number of in-store queues they currently experience.

And while many retail bosses cite in-store engagement and improvement of store layout as equally pivotal to their near-future success, 63% of those surveyed said they were currently hampered by difficulties identifying which technology solutions they should choose, and the best way to use this tech to improve other aspects of customer experience.

“Eliminating customer wait times and generating opportunities for more positive in-store interactions by orchestrating the customer journey should become a priority,” explained Steve Williams, managing director for Qmatic.

“There are a number of technology options for retailers to consider such as offering an online appointment booking service and the ability to click and collect; both of which cut wait times. Given that a majority of customers enter stores with only a rough idea what to buy, they are incredibly impressionable when they are in the store. In-store mobile check-in supports are a good method for enhancing the delivery of personalised offers and context marketing via in-store digital signage, as they can be tailored to customers, based on their service selections and individual journey through the store.”

The good news for retailers is that the consumers themselves are still keen to visit physical stores. In a separate part of Qmatic and Vanson Bourne’s research, 500 consumers were surveyed, with 49% confirming the option of visiting the High Street to preview items and make a purchase was still of upmost important to them.

Despite this, 41% of retailers suggested that a lack of in-house specialist expertise was holding them back from actively pursuing innovations that set them apart from competitors within physical stores, contributing to 15% stating they still had not yet commenced actual implementation of their customer experience improvement programme, despite having a plan in place.

“It’s an important acknowledgement that consumers really value the physical shopping experience,” Williams added. “It explains why over half of retailers questioned in our survey have plans in place to increase the number of bricks-and-mortar stores they operate. That being said, retailers are patently feeling at a disadvantage when it comes to executing and benefiting from their customer experience improvement programmes.”

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