73% of shoppers prefer to buy online after visiting a store, study finds
As the festive season nears, three quarters of consumers said they prefer a hybrid shopping experience that marries in-store visits with the ability to buy online, according to research from cloud communications platform Sinch.
The survey, comprised of nearly 3,00 customers, also noted the importance of an additional level of automation with 92% of shoppers suggesting they would message a chatbot to see if a product is in-stock before visiting the store.
Jonathan Bean, chief marketing officer at Sinch, said that adding “rich messaging, chatbots or other conversational technologies” into the mix will allow retailers to support shoppers in how and where they want to engage.
Yet when it comes to messaging retailers for product returns, exchanges and refunds, over half of customers (53%) said they feel frustrated.
This may pose a problem for retailers’ credibility since almost all customers (90%) said they are open to communicating with retailers via online messaging.
According to Sinch, only a quarter of these queries receive an instant response, while 75% take anywhere from several hours to more than a day to reply – or in some cases, they go completely unanswered.
The study suggested that these delays carry lasting consequences driving the majority of shoppers to buy elsewhere.
“Just as it has in our home and work lives, the line between physical and digital experiences when shopping has become increasingly blurred. The winners this holiday shopping season will be the retailers that do more than just optimise online and in-store processes,” concluded Bean.
Customers also believe retailers need to have robust cyber security in place when choosing who to buy from, with many threatening to walk away from suppliers who don’t take defenses seriously.
Discovering the needs of customers is increasingly important to the sector, with an identity-centric strategy set to transform the future of retail by improving customer experience.
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