Survey: Retailers falling short on in-store service

There is a growing disconnect between shoppers’ growing in-store service expectations and retailers’ current service offerings and focus for the coming year.   

That’s according to new research from TimeTrade, a provider of online appointment scheduling. The report surveyed more than 5,000 consumers about shopping habits and perceptions and 100 senior retail executives about their plans with customer experience. Results showed that while the majority of consumers still favor in-store shopping, service expectations are quickly rising, TimeTrade said.

According to the survey, emergence of the on-demand economy gives in-store shoppers more leverage and heightens their expectations.
 
Key findings of the report include:
 
• Only 27% of consumers feel that big-name brands try to provide VIP-like service.

• When shopping in-store, consumers most highly value “prompt service” (54%), “personalized experience” (30%) and “smart recommendations” (30%).

• Lack of prompt assistance will drive the majority of consumers (85%) to leave a dressing room – and the store – and abandon their intended purchases.

• Only 27% of consumers feel retailers provide a consistent customer experience across channels. In contrast, 51% of retailers believe they succeed in this area.

• 51% of consumers said call centers provide the poorest customer experience, but only 5% of retailers named it a top priority for improvement in 2016.

• 59% of respondents would like it if store associates knew the items in their online shopping carts. But only 24% of retailers currently have that ability, and only 12% are looking to implement it within the next 18 months.

• 59% of consumers would schedule an appointment with an associate if possible; for jewelry shoppers, that number rises to 83%.
 
According to TimeTrade, the results of its survey suggests that retailers must focus on ensuring seamless connections between digital and traditional channels and on delivering prompt, personalized in-store service to meet rising expectations.

“Consumers’ increasing demand for concierge-like services is forcing retailers to improve the connection between digital and physical and put a greater focus on enhancing the in-store experience,” said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. “Stores will remain the top shopping channel in 2016, but omnichannel retail will play a key role in driving the changing shopping experience. Retailers must evolve their approach to meet the rising expectations of today’s digitally savvy and increasingly informed consumer.”

The full State of Retail Report 2016 can be accessed here.

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