The latest study of “seamless retailing” done by Accenture shows although more online shopping is consistently growing and increasing in popularity, more shoppers in the United States still plan to purchase from the actual stores. Accenture is a multinational management consulting, outsourcing, and technology services company which serves clients in over 120 countries. Their operations headquarters are located in Chicago, Illinois, while their Incorporation headquarters are located in Dublin, Ireland. Accenture is the world’s largest consulting firm and is a part of the Fortune Global 500 list, as measured by revenues. For the 2013 fiscal year which ended on Aug. 31, the company generated net revenues of $28.6 billion.
The Accenture study, surveyed 750 adult consumers and found 21 percent of them intend to increase their in-store buying- an increase of 9 percent from the year prior.
A key trend found in the Accenture study, is that shoppers would like to bring their online experience into the store. More shoppers are reserving or buying items online, and then go to the actual store to pick up their purchase. Consumers have also been buying in-store and having the product shipped to their homes instead.
Shoppers seem to prefer “webrooming” over “showrooming” for all categories other than groceries. “Webrooming” happens when the shopper looks for items online and then purchases it in the physical store while showrooming happens when a consumer goes into a store to see the product and then finds a better price online. The study reveals that 78 percent of U.S. shoppers have webroomed in the last 12 months before the survey, while 72 percent have showroomed.
Another key trend revealed through Accenture’s survey, is that shoppers prefer free product delivery as opposed to quick product delivery. According to the survey 57 percent believe that free delivery is the most important and favored option to have, yet they would like for the length of time free delivery requires to be reduced. The survey results also show that several retailers have not been providing a smooth customer experience.
The survey results indicate that retailers have an opportunity to increase in-store sales but only if they make the experience worthwhile for consumers, Chris Donnelly, Global Managing Director of Accenture’s Retail practice said. Delivering a seamless experience across all retail touch points remains both a key challenge and prime opportunity for retailers today.
“Consumers are looking for the conveniences of shopping online, such as information on product availability, to be available in-store,” he said. “Free delivery remains a crucial factor for a significant number of shoppers but they are not always willing to wait as long to get it.
Retailers able to integrate the physical store with the rest of their digital capabilities and also use analytics to support new models of customer engagement and personalized service, can gain a true competitive advantage, Donnelly said.
By: Rachel Tallis