The future of retail and eCommerce

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We have been spoiled with unprecedented choice and convenience when it comes to retail — from shopping arriving in hours to cars arriving in minutes and answers arriving in seconds—and now expect things to happen seamlessly on our own terms, whenever and however we want. 

The catch: exactly what that expectation looks like varies from person to person and from moment to moment. What do these rapidly changing expectations mean for retailers? And with all of this change, do retailers really understand what consumers want today? 

To find out, NetSuite partnered with Wakefield Research and The Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs to survey 1,200 consumers and 400 retail executives in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Here’s what they found.

Despite significant investments in enhancing the customer experience online and in-store, retailers are not able to keep up with rapidly changing customer expectations and this is creating a huge disconnect. 

73 per cent of executives believe that the overall environment in retail stores has become more inviting in the past 5 years. Only 45 per cent of consumers agree, with 19 per cent stating it has become less inviting. 

80 per cent of retail executives believe that consumers would feel more welcome if instore staff interacted with them more. Less than half (46 per cent) of consumers agree, with 28 per cent noting they would feel more annoyed. 

79 per cent of retail executives believe chatbots are meeting consumer needs. Two-thirds of consumers (66 per cent) disagree, with respondents noting that chatbots are currently more damaging to the shopping experience than helpful. 

Almost all (98 per cent) retail executives think that engaging with customers on social media is important to building stronger relationships with them. Only 12 per cent of consumers think it has a significant impact on the way they think or feel about a brand.

Consumer expectations are not only rapidly changing, but exactly what expectations looks like varies from person to person and moment to moment. This makes it incredibly hard for retailers to keep up. 

The results of this survey show that while the retail industry is often considered to be at the forefront of consumer experience innovation, there’s still a long way to go to meet shopper expectations. What this means is the opportunity for retailers to improve the relationship with consumers is tremendous.

Technology is coming fast and evolving quicker than we can keep up with. From the latest buzz word at an industry conference to breakthroughs that will shape what retail could look like years from now, as an industry it shouldn’t keep businesses from being a force of innovation to match the pace of shopper demands. Ultimately, the tech you choose to utilise in your business needs to be adaptable and agile to succeed. 

To find out more about the changing world of retail and how our products can help you, click here.

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