Global retail technology firm Omnico Group has released results from its latest national primary research campaign revealing that consumers are increasingly using an omni-channel approach to shop, adding pressure to retailers to embrace technology to ensure a seamless customer experience.
The study shows that those aged 25–34 lead the way in smartphone usage, comparing prices, reading reviews, buying products and engaging with brands on social media while in-store.
"It's important for retailers to have a multichannel strategy and for those with a younger demographic it's key," said Anne Grackin, CEO of Chain Link Research. "For the retailer, being able to join up all of the interaction a customer has with you and learn from their buying behavior is essential in providing a flawless and profitable customer experience."
The Omnico study looked at how U.S. retailers are currently offering consumer-facing technology to aid retail decision-making and improve the customer experience. It picks up on the current big retail dilemmas such as how to introduce line-busting mobile technology; how to deliver voucher and loyalty programs using the customers' smartphone; and whether to embrace show rooming.
"Consumers are using digital technologies and devices in all stages of their buying journey," said Bill Henry, Omnico Group CEO. "Long gone are the days when a retailer can expect to remain competitive with a single channel view of creating customer loyalty. A personal experience that integrates the advantages of physical stores with the information-rich experience of online shopping is increasingly the way to win repeat business."
Some highlights of the survey:
- The top three technologies that will improve the average customer's in-store experience are self-checkout, free Wi-Fi and "click and collect" (order online, pick up in-store) technology.
- Controlling price and reward programs are the most effective ways to encourage Americans to be loyal customers. Coupons are also well received.
- Millennials are more likely to become loyal shoppers of retailers that are able to provide order history and have the ability to predict other items that they might want to purchase.