Shoppers now expect personalisation to extend to the store

Shoppers getting used to convenience and personalisation online now expect those qualities to extend to the store, according to a new study.

Research for the iVend Retail report, Omni Progress: Are stores getting better at delivering connected retail experiences?, was carried out in 2016. It found that twice as many consumers (27 per cent) expected online personalisation to be mirrored in the physical environment in 2016 than did the previous year (13 per cent).

More than half (59 per cent) of UK consumers felt the online experience was more personal than those that take place in the store, while 86 per cent said it was more convenient. Fewer UK shoppers felt that the store was outdated (16 per cent) compared to online shopping than in 2015 (20 per cent.)

Increasingly, connected consumers wanted retailers to have a single view of them, understanding their value and behaviour across all channels. In 2016, 18 per cent of UK shoppers wanted retailers to leverage online data to provide a more tailored in-store experience, while 71 per cent said they would happily share their purchasing history with a retailer if it meant they would receive a more customised experience in the store.

With 86 per cent of UK consumers saying ecommerce was more convenient than bricks-and-mortar, shoppers want in-store experiences to be in line with the ease and speed with which they can shop online.

While retailers have sought to drive levels of convenience with the implementation of online services, such as click-and-collect, customers were still experiencing frictions, such as long queues times for collecting parcels (12 per cent).

“The store is the channel that needs to multi-task the most,” said Kamal Karmakar, CEO of iVend Retail. “Today bricks-and-mortar is so much more than a point of transaction, it is a customer service centre, a fulfilment hub, an inspiration station, a validation point and a delivery location – and it will be different things to different shoppers depending on the stage that they are at in their purchasing journey.”

He continued, “Connected customers don’t separate channels, so retailers must ensure fluidity and visibility between them to better integrate the role of the store in omnichannel shopping experiences.”