February 4, 2016
Substantially more shoppers want to use their smartphones while shopping compared with a year ago, but retailers are not moving fast enough to meet consumers’ increasingly sophisticated mobile needs, according to a new report from Accenture.
While retailers, for the most part, have adopted basic mobile strategies such as offering a mobile-optimized Web site, very few are addressing more sophisticated needs, such as offering real-time promotions or in-store navigational capabilities. A key takeaway from the findings is that retail capabilities once considered nice-to-have are increasingly becoming must-haves.
“Retailers must make every effort to improve their mobile commerce capabilities and keep up with consumers expectations,” said Patricia Walker, senior managing director, products and North America retail practice lead at Accenture. “To be an adaptive retailer, the experience needs to be seamless experience for consumers who expect mobile devices to ease the shopping experience, both online and in-store.”
Millennial gap increases
The report, Accenture’s 2015 Adaptive Retail Survey, is based on a survey of more than 10,000 consumers in 13 countries. More than 160 retailers in 10 countries were also benchmarked for the report.
A key finding is that consumers continue to make mobile a bigger part of their shopping journey. For this year’s report, 48 percent of respondents said they found it easier to make purchases using their mobile devices, up from 42 percent last year.
Additionally, 40 percent used their smartphones to track down goods and services, up from 36 percent last year. And, 27 percent expect to purchase more via mobile devices in the future.
The gap between millennial and baby boomer shoppers grew wider, with nearly three times as many younger consumers planning to increase their smartphone-based purchases compared to boomers.
Millennials are also three times more likely to say the mobile channel needs the most improvement.
“Despite the desire for the ultimate personalized experience, shoppers still have reservations about some retailer capabilities related to mobile use,” Ms. Walker said. “The Accenture research found that 75 percent of shoppers believe that a retailer’s ability to automatically adjust the price of items for loyalty points and other discounts is a ‘cool’ offering, whereas six percent consider such ability ‘creepy.’”
Retailers are addressing the mobile basics, with 93 percent offering a smartphone-optimized Web site and 89 percent a tablet-optimized site.
However, only 58 percent offer a smartphone app with purchasing capabilities.
Retailers are even further behind when it comes to addressing consumers’ more sophisticated shopping needs.
For example, while 47 percent of shoppers want to receive real-time promotions, only 7 percent of retailers send such promotions.
Additionally, 37 percent of consumers want to order out-of-stock items via their smartphones but only 43 percent of retailers enable them to do so via free Wi-Fi in store.
Another 37 percent of shoppers want to use their phones to access a shopping list or find in-store items. However, only 31 percent of retailers offer mobile shopping lists and just 4 percent provide have apps that help shoppers navigate a store.
Offering shoppers the ability to scan products in store using their mobile device is another area where retailers are lagging behind shoppers, as 32 percent of shoppers want to be able to do so, up from 27 percent, but only 17 percent of retailers provide scanning capabilities,
Retailers are also lagging behind shoppers when it comes to automatically crediting coupons and discounts via a mobile phone, something 42 percent of shoppers want, up from 35 percent last year, but only 16 percent of retailers can do.
Google and Facebook
Additional key findings from the report include that trust continues to be an issue, with 57 percent of shoppers worried that their personal information could be stolen, up from 49 percent last year.
Retailers also still need to tread carefully with how they leverage shopper data, as 41 percent think it is creepy for sales associates to know the items on their online wish list.
Accenture also found that Google and Facebook are playing a bigger role on shoppers, with 57 percent saying they are most impacted by Google and 41 percent saying this for Facebook.
“This year’s survey confirms that retailers have begun to adapt to the evolving needs of their customers,” Ms. Walker said. “However, the challenge they face is investing in building the important digital elements of their channel strategy while remaining focused on driving profits, which in many cases is still primarily driven by stores.
“Retailers need to understand however, that they are actually involved in a race that will likely accelerate as consumers continually seek more value, greater convenience, and better customer experience across all channels,” she said.