State of Retail 2016: The Bar for Customer Service Is Set Even Higher
TimeTrade recently conducted a survey of 5,444 consumers, which asked in-depth questions regarding their perceptions and behaviors around retail shopping. TimeTrade also surveyed 100 senior-level decision makers in retail, asking about their plans for customer experience. What TimeTrade’s research reveals is that consumers still look to the in-store experience to make final purchasing decisions, except now their expectation for customer service is set even higher.
For example, 85% of consumers report that if they try on clothes in a dressing room and they need a different size, but no associate is available, they would consider abandoning the dressing room and leaving the store altogether.
In order for retailers to stay relevant, they must bear in mind that today’s leading companies are meeting consumers’ basic need for help in a timely, affordable manner. Companies such as Uber are providing this help at consumers’ fingertips and have set the stage for the On-Demand/Concierge Economy. According to the TimeTrade consumer survey, 52% of consumers report they like Uber for its convenience and 49% choose it because of cost. And, only 27% of consumers feel that traditional big-name brands (big box retailers, airlines, hotels, etc.) are trying to provide a VIP-like service.
TimeTrade’s research also reveals disconnects between retailers and consumers. For example, retailers report the call center is the lowest priority channel while consumers list the call center as their number one service complaint. Consumers report they do not mind in-store technologies, such as beacons and smart mirrors, as long as they benefit them as a customer. Meanwhile, retailers do not indicate heavy investment in these areas, so this is a missed opportunity in the form of consumer data that could be collected to provide more personalized service.
TimeTrade also surveyed consumers about sub-verticals in retail which include apparel, automotive, cosmetics, home furnishings, home improvement, jewelry, outdoor gear and wireless. More consumer trends and survey results can be found in TimeTrade’s State of Retail 2016 report. You may download the report here.