Consistent prices and respect from store employees are among the elements essential to a positive shopping experience, according to a new survey.
urvey of 1,000 consumers by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Intel and Cisco Systems, which researched consumer attitudes toward service/store attributes and willingness to use in-store technology.
Conversely, consumers are experiencing greater levels of frustration during their shopping trips, and dissatisfied shoppers are more likely than ever to simply abandon a store or checkout line or return less frequently, the survey said. And lower prices alone won't solve the problem.
Thus, the survey showed, customer loyalty can depend on a retailer's ability to provide service and a superior shopping experience, not just price.
Among the features deemed most important to surveyed shoppers were pricing consistency between shelf and checkout, respectful treatment from employees, visible prices on products and shelves, and good in-stock conditions.
Surveyed shoppers' greatest frustrations included getting through checkout, lack of visible prices, and hard-to-find employees.
The survey also demonstrates that consumers are willing to use in-store devices and technology that support service and improve the shopping experience. About two-thirds of respondents said they would use self-checkout, as well as a device to order a product not available in the store.
Almost three-quarters of consumers surveyed said they would use devices offering location of products in the store, and more than two-thirds would use devices showing products needed for a specific project and those displaying product information.
Older shoppers were also open to using technology. About half of those 65 and older said they would use self-service computer screens to locate products in the store and to learn about products.
Shoppers said that presence of technology would impact their choice of stores. Close to half said they would be more likely to shop in a store that offered these kinds of services, and more than half said they would spend more time in the store during each visit.
What's Most Important in a Store? (% saying "very important")
1. Having products priced the same at checkout as on the item or shelf 79%
2. Getting respectful treatment from employees 75%
3. Having prices visible on products or shelves 70%
4. Having the products you want to purchase be in stock 68%
5. Being able to return products to the store without difficulty 67%
6. Being able to communicate with employees 66%
7. Being able to find employees to answer questions or assist in purchase 60%
8. Being able to get through the checkout quickly and/or without hassles 57%
9. Being able to locate items in the store 56%
10. Having employees who are knowledgeable about products and/or the store 54%
According to the survey, consumers said they are ready to bolt when frustrated by their shopping experience: 61% said the problems they experienced caused them to stop shopping or shop less frequently at that store.
Following were the most frequently cited frustrations:
1. Difficulty getting through the checkout quickly and/or without hassles.
2. Lack of visible prices on products or shelves.
3. Difficulty finding employees to answer questions or assist in purchases.
4. Lack of employee knowledge about products and/or the store.
5. Out-of-stock products.
6. Difficulty locating items in the store.
How willing are consumers to use technology-based features and services to address these in-store issues? (% saying "yes" when asked if they would use feature/service if available)
Clerk-assisted checkout available in different points through the store 80%
Self-service computer screens providing location of products in the store 73%
Self-service computer screens to help determine whether the shopper had all the products necessary to complete a particular project 70%
Computer screens providing special promotions and discounts 69%
Self-service computer screens throughout the store providing information about products 68%
Self-checkout at different department locations throughout the store 65%
Self-checkout at the main bank of registers 63%
In-store computer screens to order product not available in the store 63%
Self-service computer screens throughout the store providing information about how to use products 61%