Customers still swayed by the shops over mobile apps

Businesses are using analytic tools to gather information online, through digital and social channels, as well as call center data, to get to know and build a closer relationship with their customers.

However, a survey by customer experience specialist TimeTrade reveals that mobile channels in particular are mostly used for research rather than buying.

The survey looks at consumer buying habits and how retailers need to adapt and provide a better customer experience in order to succeed. It shows that retailers are realising that a highly personalised in-store experience leads to a lasting impression and creates brand loyalty.

This has led to traditionally online only retailers like Amazon seeking to open up bricks-and-mortar stores in the hope of providing a more personalised experience. At the same time consumers are admitting that in terms of their shopping habits, they prefer the in-store experience so they can feel and touch items and most importantly, make final purchase decisions.

Key findings are that many people still prefer the in-store experience with 65 per cent saying that if an item they want is available online or in a nearby store they prefer to shop in the store. The main reason cited for this is that they like to 'touch and feel' products.

The survey also finds that despite all its hype purchasing on mobile is slow to take off. When looking to buy something only 13 per cent will buy from their mobile device and 42 per cent have never purchased from a mobile device at all. However, mobile is an important part of the shopping process with 50 per cent using it to research products, 50 per cent to compare prices and 46 per cent to find the nearest store.

Among 18-34 year-olds, 92 per cent will walk into a store either knowing exactly what they want or having narrowed it down to 2-3 products via online research. Important for retailers though is that 87 per cent of this age group will buy more than they intended to when shopping in a store. In-store expertise is still important though with 90 per cent of all respondents saying they're more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate.

The report concludes, "In order for retailers to survive and retain market share, they must be progressive in how they create the in-store experience, using modern-day technology while providing prompt service, all the while knowing a customer’s needs before they even enter the store".

The full survey is available to download from the TimeTrade website.

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