Meeting Today’s Customer Expectations in Retail
To best serve customers, retailers should keep the “Four C’s” in mind
December 22, 2022
What do today’s customers want from a shopping experience? The answer is constantly evolving as technology changes, the market swings up and down and external forces drive both immense challenges and lasting innovations. As 2023 approaches, recent surveys and research tell us that customers expect their retail experience to be:
Convenience means different things at different times to different people. However, the data from 2022 shows us that people are seeking out both the ease of shopping online from anywhere and the convenience of going to a physical store and getting what you need immediately. Radial’s 2022 Peak Consumer Survey found that 58% of consumers planned to increase their online shopping this year, representing 8% growth in eCommerce adoption since their 2021 survey.1
At the same time, many people are returning to physical stores. Mood Media’s latest report showed that 71% of consumers around the world are shopping in physical stores today as frequently or more frequently than they did before the pandemic. “The convenience of getting purchases instantly” is the primary reason for in-store shopping followed by the “ability to see, touch and feel” the goods they are buying.2
Other conveniences that became much more common during 2020 are here to stay, including “click-and-collect,” buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup. One-third of consumers plan to increase their use of BOPIS during the 2022 holiday season, and 71% of consumers have used click-and-collect in the last year.3,4 These services can be both convenient for the customer and beneficial for the retailer. Customers using click-and-collect spend, on average, 11% more than those opting for delivery to their home.5 While 30-40% of retailers offer BOPIS or buy online, return in-store (BORIS) today, this figure is expected to more than double in the next several years.6
With all these different options for shopping—whether in-store, curbside, on a laptop or on a mobile phone—customers want their experience to be cohesive. An example of this is a “shared” shopping cart across channels, meaning when you are browsing for an item on your computer and place it in your cart, it appears in your cart when you open the store’s app on your phone. Only 7% of retailers provide this option today, though a shared shopping cart is an important feature for 56% of consumers in recent studies.7
Other features aim to seamlessly blend the digital and in-person shopping experience, such as apps that show the aisle number alongside a product, making it efficient for customers to look up a product in advance and then find it quickly and easily once in the store. In fact, recent polls show that the majority of people use their phone while in a retail location: approximately 77% of U.S. customers use their mobile phones to search for coupons, compare prices or check inventory of the items they are shopping for.8
As mentioned earlier, shoppers are returning to brick-and-mortar retail stores—but they aren’t drawn to just any store. They are considering factors such as the atmosphere, customer service and available technology. Mood Media found that 84% of shoppers said they would return to stores with a “pleasant atmosphere.” This can include a number of factors, from sound and scent to lighting and layout.9
Modern technology also plays a part in creating a contemporary and engaging in-person shopping experience - 22% of customers say they shop longer in places with “engaging digital content.”10 This could mean interactive virtual reality features, mobile and self-checkout, digital signage and more. Forty percent of shoppers state they are more likely to shop at a location with a mobile point of sale, for instance, though only 22% of stores offer this option today.11 As consumer preferences continue to favor technologies like these that offer both convenience and a seamless customer experience, that number is predicted to grow significantly in the coming year.
With all the data collected on our shopping habits today, many of us assume that retailers already know what we want and when we want it. With the growth of artificial intelligence in retail, this is increasingly true! Recent Salesforce research shows that two-thirds of shoppers expect retail companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, while half expect the promotions they receive to be personalized.12 In addition, customers expect the convenience of receiving these offers on their phone. More than 60% say that personalized offers received on their mobile devices have a significant impact on where they choose to make purchases.13 Offering loyalty rewards is another way retailers are personalizing the shopping experience and retaining their customers.
Retailers not only have the opportunity to customize the shopping experience using technology and special offers – they also have the opportunity to harness one of their greatest assets: their people. Customized treatment from a sales associate, which in turn leads to a better customer experience, is a major factor in how customers decide where to make purchases for more than 75% of people.14
How Honeywell Can Help
Honeywell has been helping retailers empower their futures for more than 50 years. We equip retailers and their associates with the technology they need to deliver seamless customer experiences, solve people and process challenges and gain both efficiencies and insights. Visit our website to learn more about our retail solutions, from mobile computers with scanning capabilities to software, mobile point of sale and more.