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As challenging as it has been to improve their handling of online customer experience, one of the most mysterious element of the omnichannel strategy today is how and why customers spend time in stores.

BookingBug has released The Modern Consumer, a report looking at shifting consumer expectations and their relationship with online and offline shopping channels. Featuring an independent survey of 2,000 consumers across the US and UK, the report sets out to paint a picture of consumer shopping habits.

Unveiled by CEO Glenn Shoosmith during his keynote at Retail’s Big Show in New York City, the report confirmed that shopping across multiple channels is now the norm with 96% of shoppers now jump between online and instore when browsing and buying.

Online continues to grow in popularity with 37% of consumers in both the US and UK reporting they do more online shopping last year. However, stores are still the main buying channel for 52% of consumers in the US and 41% in the UK.

The research also revealed a gap between demand and reality when it came to in-store events with 68% of shoppers saying they would attend hosted events by retailers, but only 23% have ever been invited to one.

YOUR MOST IMPORTANT INTERACTIONS

Many successful retailers moved toward the understanding that the most important interactions with your highest value customers thrive when handled face-to-face with well trained experts.

But the challenges of identifying those services, scheduling the appropriate staff, moving more basic functions to the online experience have long presented a serious barrier.

Shoosmith explains how the research findings show light at the end of the tunnel for this:  “The biggest retailers, banks and governments in the world have already discovered the formula to make your offline experience a crucial and valuable asset — and the answer lies in giving them a clearer reason to spend time with you.

“If you know your customers do research in-store before buying online, then it makes sense to create services that will make that research easy and intelligent.”

Brands like Lego, Adidas and M&S all demonstrate this with in-store events encouraging customers to engage with the brand rather than just hoping stacked shelves will be enough to drive sales.