U.S. Consumers Want Retailers to Integrate Channels, New hybris Study Finds

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The hybris Multichannel Shopping Survey found over 80 percent of U.S consumers more likely to become loyal customers to retailers that provide an integrated experience across channels.

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hybris, a leading provider of multichannel commerce and communication software, announced today the results of its U.S. 2012 Multichannel Shopping Survey that examined U.S. consumer behaviors and expectations for a multichannel shopping experience.

The study found the importance of online and mobile strategies continue to increase with more than a third of consumers (39%) reporting that they make more purchases online than in-store. Looking ahead to the 2012 retail holiday season, 46 percent of consumers plan to increase their online shopping during the holidays, while only eight percent will increase in-store shopping.

Even while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, consumers continue to turn to digital channels with 19 percent reporting that they browse their mobile device while in-store. The vast majority do so to compare prices (66%), with others using mobile to compare product choices (27%) and read online recommendations (7%).

“Consumers are shopping on a variety of channels and devices, often simultaneously, with new technology introduced virtually every day,” said Steven Kramer, President of North America at hybris. “What we have found is that consumers have expectations that their favorite retailers will be accessible to them anytime and anywhere. Retailers who aren’t keeping up with the latest technology will find their customers moving to a retailer who will.”

What Shoppers Want

The study examined the consumer shopping behavior and preferences across a variety of channels, devices and product categories to identify the key features shoppers look for in a multichannel shopping experience. When asked to rank desired features in a multichannel retail experience, hybris found:

  •     Forty-five percent of respondents indicated in-store pickup options for online purchases were most important.
  •     Twenty-eight percent of consumers selected in-store returns for online purchases as most valuable.

In fact, these features build loyalty. Eighty-two percent of respondents would shop again at a retailer who accepted in-store returns for online purchases, and 73 percent were more likely to become a repeat customer if a store offers in-store pickup. However, many brands have failed to fulfill these demands, considering only a third of consumers believe retailers are currently offering both in-store pickup and returns for online purchases.    

“As it turns out, we discovered a significant portion of consumers believe retailers are falling short of their expectations,” said Kramer. “Brands who want to provide a superior multichannel shopping experience should be in-tune to consumer preferences and adapt accordingly. For example, retailers who offer flexible fulfillment options are more effective at enhancing brand loyalty.”

The survey findings also revealed a gap between consumer expectations and current retail offerings, especially for mobile. Participants indicated they would be more likely to return to stores that distributed personalized offers (40%) or in-store mobile promotions (42%), but nearly half of consumers said retailers do not currently deliver these capabilities.

Web Purchase Completion Influencers

To provide a deeper analysis, the study identified specific factors that can potentially impact the likelihood of a consumer following through with a purchase online.

The most important factors for following through with an online purchase:

  •     Easy navigation (59%)
  •     Simple checkout process (57%)
  •     Presence of product images (42%)

The most important factors that might deter an online purchase:

  •     Shipping costs (47%)
  •     Out of stock items (28%)
  •     Lack of product images (23%)

“We see a significant portion of online shoppers are turned off by high shipping costs,” said Kramer. “Since consumers remain relatively price sensitive, retailers should consider store-based fulfillment strategies such as buy online, pick up in store. In addition to omnichannel retailing strategies eliminating barriers to purchasing, they also present opportunities for retailers to sell more once they get customers in the store. These strategies also improve inventory productivity. The technology and expertise to quickly deploy an omnichannel retailing strategy is available, and now is the time for brands to address these concerns ahead of the major summer, back-to-school and holiday shopping rushes. Those retailers that wait will be at a competitive disadvantage.”

To learn more about proven cross-channel fulfillment strategies and their benefits to consumers and merchants, download hybris’ white paper entitled “Fulfillment in a Multichannel Retailing Environment: Consumer Expectations, Proven Strategies, Organizational Issues and Technology Considerations,” or visit http://www.hybris.com.

About the hybris 2012 Multichannel Shopping Survey

As a leader in multichannel commerce and communication software, hybris has helped more than 380 global brands communicate and sell across every channel, both online and offline, in a consistent and effective way. In order to help elevate their clients’ multichannel presence, hybris conducted the 2012 Multichannel Shopping Survey to better understand how consumers shop and what they want in a multichannel shopping experience.

The study surveyed more than 500 consumers in the U.S. across varied income levels and ages, with an equal distribution of genders.

About hybris

hybris is a leading vendor of next generation end-to-end multichannel commerce software based on a single platform including managed and hosting services. Its clear vision about the need for consistency, coordination and personalization of information across all channels and throughout all phases of the customer lifecycle has resulted in the development of an integrated, agile solution enabling businesses to communicate and sell across all channels – online and offline - in a consistent and effective way. hybris has 14 offices around the world located in the economic capitals of North/South America, Europe and Asia and supports over 380 global customers. Customers are brands from retail and manufacturing industries, including: Bobcat, Clarks, Coca Cola Beverages, Conrad, Grundfos, Hornbach, Iomega, Kaiser+Kraft, Levi´s, Lufthansa, Migros, Nespresso, Nikon, P&G, Rexel, Timberland and Toys´R´Us,

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