A new shopping survey indicates that despite a growing focus on e-commerce and mobile strategies within the retail industry, more shoppers say they'll be increasing their visits to physical stores in 2014.
The "Seamless Retailing" survey by Accenture found that 21 percent of U.S. shoppers said they plan to do more in-store purchasing, up from just 9 percent of shoppers in 2013.
"The good news for traditional retailers is that the store continues to play an important role," said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture's Retail practice. "In order to ensure that they offer shoppers a seamless retail experience, bricks and mortar/high street retailers must work hard to differentiate the shopping experience they offer compared to the online pure-plays."
The key to optimizing the in-store experience is to deliver cohesive communication to shoppers across all channels. This omnichannel focus is nothing new, however, these new survey findings should remind retailers that the store experience is grabbing shoppers' attention again. After a busy year of omnichannel overload, it's time to disperse resources evenly across all channels with a renewed interest in brick-and-mortar.
The survey points to this conclusion, too. When asked to identify what retailers need to improve the most in the overall shopping experience, 40 percent of respondents ranked improving the in-store shopping experience first, compared to just 16 percent who said the same of online shopping.
Other key trends of the survey show an increase in the amount of customers who are using "click and collect" or "ship to store" services, where items are purchased online and picked up in store. Nineteen percent of customers prefer to shop this way, up from 12 percent who said the same last year. It's important for retailers to remember that these online transactions still lure the customer to physical stores, thus, it's even more critical that the brick-and-mortar experience seamlessly closes out the transaction on a good note.
-See this Accenture study
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