We’re well and truly moving into the world of connected retail. By that I mean that many retailers have multiple channels, or different ways that shoppers can buy, and those channels are increasingly becoming integrated and linked. It is connected retail enables multi-channel transactions such as Click and Collect. More and more we’re seeing that shoppers are no longer tied to a single channel. CitiXsys commissioned extensive research of shopping habits in Australia and New Zealand, which confirmed what we believed to be true: In Australia and New Zealand (the figures were identical in each country), a massive 84% of all shoppers use more than one channel, with only 15% sticking exclusively to the store and only 1% shopping online and never using a store. Of those, a significant 40% of Aussies and 37% of Kiwis have bought online and collected in the store (Click and Collect).
Even if they don’t click and collect, 63% (71% in NZ) use the internet to research the product before going into the store to buy.
Over half (56% of Australians and 59% of New Zealanders) say they like the option of shopping in different ways with a retailer), and virtually the same number (56% and 61% respectively) don’t even really think about the channel they want to use, they just pick the one that is the most convenient.
All of which supports the notion that the world of connected retail is what shoppers want, is here to stay and will only increase in importance.
So what else did CitiXsys learn about connected retail through its extensive survey, talking to over 500 shoppers across the two countries that make up the region we call ANZ ? The answer is that we learned that there are 3 things that shoppers really want from their connected retail experience:
We saw from the statistics above that shoppers don’t want to even have to think too hard about which channel they’re going to use for which transaction. But what they do want is for the retailer to treat them the same way regardless of the channel. They want a consistent experience and level of service whether they shop online or in-store. However, only 41% of Aussies and 40% of Kiwis believe they are getting this at the moment. They want the retailer to have a single view of them, understanding their shopping habits and preferences, and including getting the same loyalty rewards in both channels. The report is more positive on loyalty, as 62% in Australia and 63% in NZ believe they get exactly the same rewards online and in-store. In countries that love loyalty schemes (85% in each country are members), that’s good news for retailers.
One of the reasons that shoppers like to research and buy online is the ease of access to information – just a few clicks and they can find out all they need to know about the product, pricing, availability, even user reviews. But after being online, they find the store outdated, and they wish it used technology to offer the same access to information as they have from their PC or tablet. A whopping 82% (88% in NZ) said that their in-store shopping experience would be improved if the store offered free Wi-Fi or digital helpdesks so they could get detailed information. A further 36% (28% in NZ) suggested that they’d like staff to have tablets to provide this service.
The thing that shoppers really like about the store is that the service is more personal. It seems that for all the advantages of digital, interaction with a human being has not lost its importance. However, the shoppers we surveyed felt that the stores could also learn from online about making shopping more personalised. They love the way that when they shop online, their preferences, their past purchases and their loyalty status is all known, and they receive offers that are specifically targeted to them. They don’t feel as valued and known when they walk into a store. 53% of Australian shoppers and 63% of their counterparts across the Tasman would like stores to know more about them and to give them an experience more like the one they get online.
One thing’s for sure – shoppers in Australia and New Zealand know what they want from retailers and are clear about expressing it. The work is now with the retailers, to implement systems that deliver on these demands. CitiXsys has done this with many retailers around the world.
Senior Vice President of Sales for Asia Pacific and the Americas, for CitiXsys, Paula Da Silva has more than 10 years’ experience in the retail industry associated with delivering innovative software solutions to mid and large sized retailers. Known for her strong track record of operational excellence and managing a global ecosystem of technology partners, Paula has been instrumental in building the iVend Retail into a global market leader in the retail industry and plays a major role in the Company’s overall performance.