Retailers Should Focus on In-Store Technologies to Make Experience More Seamless, Says New Study
March 14, 2016 (TendersInfo (India)) The majority of retailers believe they provide a seamless experience across all channels, yet they are not always taking the last 1,000 feet—the physical space a customer must traverse to make an in-store purchase—into consideration.
According to a new executive briefing developed by Forbes Insights, in cooperation with EY, "Closing the Loop: The Last 1,000 Feet of the Shopping Experience," the majority of retailers believe they provide a seamless experience across all channels, yet they are not always taking the last 1,000 feet-the physical space a customer must traverse to make an in-store purchase-into consideration. Shopping is not seamless if there is a breakpoint at the street level. Retailers have the opportunity to use in-store digital technologies to improve the customer experience while improving out-of-stock issues.
The scale, difficulty and cost of installing in-store technologies are the reasons some retailers are behind on the maturity curve. For large retailers, the rollout needs to happen across 1,000 or 2,000 stores. Store associates, the biggest labor base, need to be trained in how to utilize the technologies. Not an easy task considering that employee adoption and engagement is the top challenge in adopting omnichannel, cited by 64% of respondents.
"Retailers are often wary of the cost and disruption involved in changing anything to do with stores," said Forbes Insights' Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and Head of the Forbes CMO Practice. "But they can't afford to ignore this key link in the omnichannel experience."
Other key findings include:
Ninety-two percent of those who are overall leaders are also leaders in this 1,000-foot segment. In fact, 81% of respondents who are leaders in the last 1,000 feet had sales increases, compared with 65% of those whose last 1,000 feet were not integrated into a seamless, omnichannel shopping experience.
Retailers clearly recognize the importance of in-store digital technologies. Ninety-four percent believe that these technologies will help them with inventory management at the store level, and 79% attribute their better out-of-stock results to in-store digital technologies.
Investment in digital technologies, already at high levels, will intensify over the next two years. Ninety-one percent of respondents say their investments will be significant, though digital in-store technologies are less of a priority (29%) than new technologies/predictive analytics-the top area where retailers will be investing (46%).