Consumer expectations don't match retailer priorities

In a study of more than 60 retailers and 2,000 shoppers around the U.K. and France, OrderDynamics found that there is a great disparity between what consumers want and what retailers are offering.

One great disparity was found around the question of same-day shipping. While next-day delivery was available from 61 percent of the surveyed retailers, only 10 percent of the shoppers would be willing to pay more for this service, reported Women's Wear Daily.

What did rank at the top of consumers' lists, 54 percent, was the ability to specify the date and time the delivery arrived. More shoppers wanted this service above all others, even though only 15 percent of retailers provided this delivery option.

In second place, 45 percent of consumers, was the option of reserving an item in a store while online and then trying it on at the customer's convenience. Of the retailers surveyed, only 11 percent had the "reserve in-store" option.

Retailers and consumers seemed to meet on the idea of Webrooming—shopping and paying online but picking up in-store—available from 46 percent of the retailers and wanted by 32 percent of shoppers. Another recent survey showed that on the flip side, showrooming, researching on phones while in a physical store and buying online, is growing in popularity and is done by up to 72 percent of shoppers in the United States.

"A lot of retailers, including apparel retailers, will tell you they don't directly compete with Amazon," Kevin Sterneckert, chief marketing officer of OrderDynamics told Women's Wear Daily. "But, in reality, everyone competes with them because they're constantly raising customer expectations from the shopping and ordering process through to deliveries and returns. [Amazon tells] you how many of an item are in stock and when you can get it delivered, and they tell you on the front page, not when you put it in the basket."

Moving forward, retailers will need to better integrate the omnichannel experience to match the needs of the consumer. E-commerce sales in 30 retail categories will reach $294 billion in 2014 alone and $414 billion by 2018, according to Forrester Research's latest online retail forecast. And while e-commerce will continue to grow, brick-and-mortar stores will still be a valuable aspect of the retail industry, too.

For more:
-See this Women's Wear Daily article (subscription)

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