'Omnichannel' has been the buzzword of choice for years no, yet when it comes to retail experiences, many brands still fall short. As we enter 2016, retailers are beginning to understand that, if they want to benefit from the future, they're going to have to start living there, too.
Foresee's recent "Foresee Experience Index (FXI): 2015 Retail Edition" report explores how consumers interact with their favorite retailers to determine where these leaders lag and where they excel. Researchers collected customer experience data from more than 40,000 survey responses in an effort to quantify shopper satisfaction in context with the digital and brick-and-mortar experiences provided by top retailers across the U.S. and the U.K.
The following statistics examine how shoppers interact with top retailers, which retailers currently lead the way with regard to customer satisfaction, and how retailers' priorities reflect changes in the market over the past year:
- Overall, 51 percent of Web and mobile shoppers use their mobile devices while in-store to compare prices (50 percent) or get more product details. Online purchasers, however, are the least siloed, as 26 percent of those who've purchased items in-store has a previous digital interaction with the retailer in the last three months and 50 percent of those who've purchased items online had an in-store experience in that time.
- Mobile (79) and brick-and-mortar (78) satisfaction scores remain flat year-over-year, while Web (79) rose two points to match its all-time high score. However, as the percentage of U.S. adult smartphone owners continues to grow-from 35 percent in 2011 to 64 percent in 2015-retailers now have the chance to differentiate their customer experience by offering mobile sire and apps that break away from the pack.
- Amazon's website earned the highest customer satisfaction rating (86), gaining three points since 2014 and topping its next closest competitor, Apple (82) by four points. Over the past year, priorities have also shifted, as most U.S. Web retailers are now focused on price (89 percent) over merchandise (44 percent).
- Amazon also earned the highest mobile experience customer satisfaction rating (84), while Wal-Mart (76) and QVC (79) both fell three points year-over-year. Burberry, Cabela's, and Hayneedle tied for second (83), as retailers shifted their mobile improvement priorities to price (67 percent) and merchandise (64 percent).
- Apple maintained its lead with the highest in-store customer satisfaction score (83), while Express (up seven points to 82) and Wal-Mart (up five points to 76) saw the greatest year-over-year gains. Over the last year, retailers realigned their priorities to focus on price (16 percent in 2014 versus 62 percent in 2015) before merchandise (72 percent in 2014 versus 35 percent in 2015) with regard to in-store improvement.
- For U.K. Web retailers, the overall customer satisfaction score has climbed from 66 in 2007 to 75 in 2015, with Amazon.co.uk leading the online at 81. Netflix showed the greatest year-over-year gain, climbing from 71 in 2014 to 78 in 2015. Overall, U.K. websites have also shifted priorities, focusing on price (3 percent in 2013 versus 87 percent in 2015) over merchandise (58 percent in 2013 versus 33 percent in 2015).
Key takeaway: As Foresee suggests, many retailers are like unsuccessful multitaskers, for they have sacrificed the whole experience while improving parts. However, in the consumer's mind, channels have already blended, as they don't necessarily think of mobile, Web, and store as separate experiences, but instead, as one extended, interwoven interaction. They simply want to engage when, where, and how they want, and retailers must align their strategies with this reality if they wish to remain competitive. This also means looking beyond conversion rate as the KPI of choice, as the future of retail depends upon measuring the contribution one experience has on the next experience, which ultimately provides insight into how shoppers move from one channel to another. Long-term loyalty and satisfaction derive from the culmination of experiences, not just one instance, so retailers must expand their view of the customer journey in order to target their experiential initiatives accordingly.