Study: Consumers want a Seamless Shopping Experience across Store, Online and Mobile
Retailers that deliver on their customers’ expectations and provide them with a seamless shopping experience – whether they are shopping in a store, online or through a mobile device – will win their loyalty and gain a competitive advantage that drives sales, according to new research by Accenture.
Based on a poll of 750 consumers in the United States, and an analysis of how top retailers operate across multiple sales channels, the Accenture Seamless Retail Study found that half (49 percent) of consumers believe the best thing retailers can do to improve the shopping experience is to better integrate in-store, online and mobile shopping channels. An overwhelming 89 percent of consumers said it is important for retailers to let them shop for products in the way that is most convenient for them, no matter which sales channel they choose.
Choosing Channels for Seamless Shopping
Regardless of their original shopping touchpoint – in-store, online or mobile – consumers expect their interaction with retailers to be a customized, uncomplicated and instantaneous experience, according to the survey. The research also indicates that consistency weighs heavily on the consumer experience. For example, 73 percent of consumers expect a retailer’s online pricing to be the same as its in-store pricing, and 61 percent expect a retailer’s online promotions to be the same as its in-store promotions.
Yet, a benchmark analysis by Accenture of the top retailers globally indicated that while 73 percent offer the same promotions online as in the store, only 16 percent offer the same prices online as they do in the store. Additionally, while 43 percent of consumers surveyed expect a retailer to offer the same product assortment online as they do in the store, only 19 percent of retailers actually offer the same product assortment, according to Accenture’s analysis of top retailers.
"Showrooming" and "Webrooming" Are Here To Stay
The survey found that as online shopping continues to grow as a consumer preference, there is a mutually beneficial relationship between stores and online channels. For example, while in the six months prior to the survey, 73 percent of respondents indicated that they participated in the practice of “showrooming”, or browsing at least once in-store and then buying online, an even larger number – 88 percent – said they participated in “webrooming”, or browsing first on the internet then buying in-store.
The survey also highlighted the following findings:
After purchasing, 81 percent said it is important for a retailer to enable them to pick up or arrange for delivery of their purchase regardless of how they paid for the item.
One-quarter (25 percent) of survey respondents said they would be willing to wait a whole two weeks for free shipping.
Other consumers are willing to pay for speed and convenience: 24 percent said it is important for retailers to offer same-day delivery, including 30 percent who are willing to pay $5-$10 and 19 percent who are willing to pay $11-$20 for same-day delivery.
The ability to offer a range of different fulfillment capabilities is something offered by just over half (56 percent) of retailers; however, only one quarter (26 percent) have a same day delivery capability.
When respondents were asked what they would do if a retailer has a product they want but it was outside normal business hours, 39 percent said they would wait until the morning for the store to open to purchase, 36 percent would buy it online from that retailer, 22 percent would search for the best price and buy the product somewhere online.
49 percent surveyed are influenced by in-store offers (via promotional displays, salespeople, etc.), 56 percent are influenced by email coupons and offers and an equal amount of respondents say they are influenced by coupons mailed to their home.
69 percent and 62 percent respectively said that online pop-up ads and mobile banner ads would never influence their purchasing.
PC Shipments Post the Steepest Decline Ever in a Single Quarter, According to IDC
Worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13), down -13.9% compared to the same quarter in 2012 and worse than the forecast decline of -7.7%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The extent of the year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since IDC began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994. The results also marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines.
Despite some mild improvement in the economic environment and some new PC models offering Windows 8, PC shipments were down significantly across all regions compared to a year ago. Fading Mini Notebook shipments have taken a big chunk out of the low-end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending. PC industry efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply, as well as a weak reception for Windows 8. The PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire consumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceived as cumbersome or costly.
United States – The U.S. market had another dismal quarter in 1Q13, contracting -12.7% year on year, with a drop of -18.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. With total volume falling to 14.2 million, quarterly shipments reached their lowest level since the first quarter of 2006. With this latest figure, the U.S. is now in its tenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year contraction (excluding a brief moment of growth – less than 2% year on year – in 3Q11).
EMEA – As expected, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained constrained, posting a stronger double-digit decline than anticipated in the first quarter of 2013. Results fell short of expectations in the consumer segment as softness in demand persisted amid a continued shift to tablets and ongoing budget pressures. Meanwhile, the market response to Windows 8 and touch-enabled devices remained slow, leading to cautious sell-in from most vendors. Shipments in the commercial market remained constrained as predicted, following continued economic pressure and lack of major IT renewals.
Japan – PC shipments were in line with expectations in the first quarter. Some economic improvement is helping to support commercial replacement demand ahead of the scheduled end of support for Windows XP next year. However, consumer shipments remained very weak.
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) – PC shipments in APeJ declined sharply, dropping a record -12.7% year on year, the first time the region has experienced a double-digit decline. Although much of the earlier Windows 7 stock had cleared, a lukewarm reception toward Windows 8 hampered new shipments. China's inactivity contributed heavily to the decline, as public sector spending continued to be constrained.
2013 will be a Turning Point Year as CEOs and Senior Executives Plan to Increase IT Investment
2013 will be a turning point year as CEOs and senior executives, by a ratio of more than four to one, plan to increase IT investment in 2013, rather than cut it, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. The 2013 Gartner CEO and Senior Executive Survey found that, as macro uncertainties abate, 78 percent of CEOs now feel able to plan their 2013 and 2014 investments and growth. The survey results show that while major political and economic uncertainties obstructed business investment last year, the fog is now clearing, and digital will play a prominent role in CEOs' 2013 plans.
"This is the year when business leadership teams must commit to investing bravely and deeply to redevelop the technology and information capability of their firms," said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner fellow. "After more than a decade of modest investment and sorting out the basics, it's time to think ahead. Business leaders tell us they recognize the need to invest in e-commerce, mobile, cloud, social and other major technology categories, and the capabilities they enable. That can't be done from within existing IT budgets alone."
Gartner's CEO and senior executive survey showed that many business leaders think they have a digital strategy, as 52 percent of survey respondents said that they have a digital strategy.
"CEOs and leadership teams must crystallize what they mean by digital strategy and work with a small subgroup from the executive team to define what 'digital' means and how it manifests in the broader business strategy," said Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "They must ensure all elements of the digital strategy link clearly to the core business strategy, and that they do not form an independent, possibly distracting, program of change."
Business leaders intend to change the mix of leadership talent needed to make that change — with chief data officers, chief digital officers and new heads of innovation on the way. The survey found that 19 percent of business leaders expect to see a chief digital officer by 2014, and 17 percent expect to see a chief data officer.
"CIOs should embrace growing digital, data and innovation needs, and not stand back from them," said Mr. Lopez. "CIOs who intend to stay with their firms for longer than two years should be developing digital business, business information governance and innovation leadership capabilities in themselves and in their teams. CIOs who intend to retire or step back into other roles should help their organizations by incubating next-generation talent in the areas of digital media, information exploitation, and digitally enabled product and service innovation. This can be done inside as well as outside the IT department."
Research Demonstrates Happy Customer Service Agents Positively Impact Customer Experience
LiveOps, Inc., a provider of cloud contact center and customer service solutions, announced the findings of research that provides a holistic view into the state of today’s customer service. LiveOps evaluated the inter-dependency between the agent experience, customer experience and business bottom line. The research revealed four key points that are supported by the data:
Happy Agents Equal Happy Customers: 92 percent of consumers surveyed report that a customer service agent’s perceived “happiness” has a direct impact on their customer experience with the brand.
Integrating Social Channels on the Agent Desktop Is a Requirement: 85 percent of consumers surveyed feel that how a brand handles issues on their website or on social channels, like Facebook or Twitter, is a good indicator of a brand’s ability to deliver customer satisfaction and quality of support.
Most Brands Fail to Provide Consistent Service Across Multiple Channels: 89 percent of consumers surveyed believe it is important to be able to communicate with companies by any channel, including social media, and still receive the same quality and efficiency of response. Furthermore, 61 percent of social media users feel that brands do not effectively communicate with them on these channels.
Live Agent Service, Regardless of Channel, Is Preferred Over Self-service: 90 percent of customers surveyed value the ability to communicate with a live person on any channel--voice, email, chat, SMS or social.
Study Reveals That 83% of Knowledge Workers Lose Time to Document Versioning Issues Each Day
Poor document collaboration practices are very expensive, time-consuming and the source of much frustration, according to Perforce Software, which commissioned an independent survey of business professionals. Conducted online by Harris Interactive, the survey of 1,004 knowledge workers in the United States and United Kingdom shows that document collaboration problems in the workplace are pervasive, frustrating and the cause of costly productivity issues—even when document sharing tools are in place. It also indicates that these issues have far-reaching consequences, including missed business opportunities, damaged reputations and poor impressions on colleagues and customers.
Known by Few, Felt by Most
While less than half (45 percent) of knowledge workers are familiar with the term “version issues,” the survey found that more than four in five (83 percent) lose or waste time each day from these problems.
Searching their hard drives or email inboxes for the most up-to-date or correct file (73 percent)
Having to wait while someone else finishes working on a document (59 percent)
Manually reviewing documents to sort out the changes from one or more contributors (56 percent)
Working on a document, only to realize after some time that it was the wrong or outdated file (47 percent)
Interestingly, of the 69 percent of knowledge workers whose companies use a document management or file sharing service, about 9 in 10 still experience document versioning issues (86 percent and 90 percent, respectively), indicating that existing solutions do little to solve these problems.
More Time-Consuming than Spam, More Frustrating than Parking Tickets
The survey found that document versioning issues are productivity killers. They combine (75 percent) to have an impact on productivity for a higher percentage of knowledge workers than:
Not having network access (71 percent)
Dealing with spam and junk mail (59 percent)
Leaving a mobile phone at home (34 percent)
In addition, 81 percent report having worked on the wrong version of a document or spent too much time looking for the right file. Of those, 29 percent stop working on a project altogether or leave work early when they realize all the time they’ve wasted. Other startling responses include:
Yell at their computers (33 percent)
Think about heading to the nearest bar or pub (21 percent)
Throw something (12 percent)
Banged their heads against their desks (12 percent)