Boston -- The single biggest challenge for retailers is to understand, empower and represent the digitally empowered consumer across all touch points, according to new research from Oracle.
The New Retail Democracy study finds that the increasingly democratic relationship between digitally-empowered shoppers and retailers is forcing retailers to re-evaluate technology investments and strategic initiatives to capture loyalty, drive spend and remain competitive. Consumers are demanding better access to information, product and process, along with more individualized interactions with retailers as they take ownership of their retail experiences.
“As consumers continue to dictate how, when and where they make purchases, Oracle believes that providing commerce anywhere is imperative for retail success.” said Mike Webster, senior VP and general manager, Oracle Retail. “Retailers need to invest in aligning and integrating retail processes with the needs of individual consumers to compete and grow effectively in the New Retail Democracy.”
The study also finds that access to information in stores, online and on mobile devices, is vital to enabling consumers to make purchases at anytime and anywhere, requiring retailers to align business processes and touch points to connect the customer journey regardless of purchase path. Empowering retail employees with access anywhere is equally important in reducing the disconnect with empowered consumers.
The store remains vital to the provision of commerce anywhere, with a majority of respondents rating the physical interaction with products and people as being important to enhancing their shopping experiences, according to Oracle. However, retailers must commit to investing in these operations to transform them by offering value-add services and activities that support local communities.
Other study findings include:
• Ninety-three percent of respondents want to understand availability of products, and 58% rate it as more important than price, indicating that “Availability Always” is a priority.
• There is a strong link between availability, loyalty and spend, with 46% of respondents admitting to being more loyal and 30% likely to spend more with a retailer that provides information about products’ availability.
• Furthermore, 92% report that they will not wait for a product to come into stock, with 88% indicating they will source a product elsewhere in this situation, placing pressure on retailers to integrate demand forecasting, planning, merchandising, supply chain, marketing and commerce capabilities across all touch points.
• Seventy-three percent of respondents highlighted the importance of “Individual Retail,” meaning every interaction with a retailer should be relevant to the individual consumer based on their interests, requirements and purchase history.
• Eighty-two percent of consumers consider the adoption of new technologies important to their retail experiences and are using multiple touch points, including mobile phones, click and collect, social networking sites and online magazines to complete their shopping journeys.