Zebra Technologies Corporation has revealed the results of its 12th annual Global Shopper Study, the industry’s only market tracker that analyzes the attitudinal behavior of shoppers, retail associates and retail executives and examines the retail and technology trends impacting shoppers’ purchasing behavior.
The study identified sizeable perception gaps when it comes to the returns and exchanges process between shopper satisfaction (59 percent) and executives’ perception of their satisfaction (80 percent).
“Our study shows that while better services will help retain current shoppers and attract new ones, retailers need to make sure they have the basics right when it comes to product availability, ease of finding products, returns and exchanges,” said Anees Haidri, Director of Global Retail Market Strategy, Zebra Technologies. “To win with shoppers today, retailers must deliver the seamless, multi-channel experience that customers expect and leverage technology to provide more personalized services for managing inventory and building smarter operations.”
Three-fourths (75 percent) of surveyed millennial shoppers and more than half (53 percent) of Gen X shoppers indicated they shopped in a store and left without a purchase only to end up buying the item online. The main culprit for retailers losing in-store purchases to online shopping is due to issues with inventory management, particularly out-of-stocks. Both shoppers and retail associates expressed dissatisfaction with the number of out-of-stocks as 43 percent of retail associates cited customer complaints about out-of-stocks as their biggest frustration and 39 percent of shoppers left a store without a purchase due to this problem.
Self-checkout technologies are also gaining traction in retail stores as 40 percent of shoppers reported using these solutions within the last six months and 86 percent stated comfort with the technology. Furthermore, most shoppers (58 percent) – especially millennials (70 percent) – agree that self-checkout provides an improved customer experience. The majority of store associates (54 percent) also said staffed checkout areas are less necessary with new technology that automates the process. Nearly nine-in-ten retail executives (87 percent) believe self-checkout frees up store associates to better serve customers, and 81 percent reported they’re starting to see a return on their investment.
Providing a better customer experience will be crucial to keep shoppers coming back, but a significant disconnect exists between the expectations of retail executives and shoppers. In fact, 77 percent of retail executives believe customers are satisfied with the in-store experience while only 57 percent of shoppers reported feeling satisfied. Investments in mobile solutions, however, have fostered agreement among executives (85 percent) and store associates (73 percent) that equipping associates with the latest technology provides a better experience.
Retailers are also trying to improve the in-store experience through the use of robotics. Only seven percent of surveyed shoppers interacted with a robot in a retail environment in the last six months, but nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said they were comfortable with them while 32 percent of associates reported concerns about being replaced by one.
Key regional findings:
North America ● Only six percent of shoppers said they completely trust retailers to protect their personal data, the lowest score of any region. ● North American holiday shoppers expect to spend 58 percent of their holiday budget in physical stores.
Asia-Pacific ● Almost half of surveyed shoppers (49 percent) reported a preference for purchasing online because of the ease of the returns process. ● Fifty-three percent of shoppers are reliant upon using their mobile device/store app for in-store shopping.
Europe and the Middle East ● Two-thirds (66 percent) of shoppers reported satisfaction with their ability to pay anywhere in the store. ● Only 14 percent of shoppers completely trust retailers to protect their personal data.
Latin America ● Seventy-one percent of shoppers said self-checkout provides them with a better shopping experience and 64 percent prefer using the technology to a staffed checkout lane. ● More than eight-in-ten (83 percent) shoppers are interested in receiving a coupon or cash-back offer in exchange for waiting up to four days for delivery of an online purchase.
Survey background and methodology Zebra’s 12th annual Global Shopper Study included approximately 4,811 shoppers, 1,100 retail associates and 435 retail executives from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East who were interviewed in August – September 2019 by Qualtrics.
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