Thriving in the New Era of Consumer-Driven Commerce
Consumers are evolving at a rapid rate and the use of mobile devices and ubiquitous internet connectivity has changed their expectations of retailers for good. The most forward-leading web consumers, dubbed “smart consumers,” are actively using mobile devices, the web and in-store technology to research their purchases, which results in new shopping attitudes and behaviors. Increased access to information and commerce experiences on new devices raises the bar for retailers, many of whom have only begun to understand the way this behavioral change impacts their businesses.
A recent study from Demandware of approximately 500 consumers and 200 retailers explored the dynamic of the changing consumer and the implications for retailers and brands. The study revealed that most retailers aren't prepared to meet the demands of smart consumers who use multiple, web-enabled touchpoints to interact with brands. In many instances there was a significant gap between the touchpoints that retailers currently offer and the ways in which consumers expect to interact with brands now and in the future.
Those retailers that prepare for smart consumers have the opportunity for stronger brand loyalty by providing ubiquitous information across all shopping points where consumers may choose to engage with them. The good news is that of the 200 retailers surveyed, 87 percent acknowledged they have to make improvements to their multichannel capabilities to serve today’s consumers. But unfortunately only 50 percent feel drastic changes are needed now. It appears that some retailers may be underestimating the enhancements they need to make and how soon they need to make them.
The survey reveals that many retailers are deploying on-site multichannel capabilities and in-store technology, but with little cross-touchpoint capability from stores to mobile to web. Where site features are deployed, there's little effort to expose consumers to new features and optimize usability. To address this challenge, retailers need to invest in the right e-commerce solutions that enable agility, as well as market these capabilities actively to consumers and their organizations.