Consumers are avoiding the stores as Black Friday draws closer, but retailers haven’t got the seamless, integrated omni-channel experiences in place yet to compensate.
According to the 2015 Connected Shoppers report from Salesforce Research, people are put off going into bricks-and-mortar stores during the holiday season due to the crowds (82%), limited parking (48%) and a lack of knowledge/service from seasonal employees (24%).
In-store shoppers want store associates to know what they have previously purchased in the store or online (31%), but only 10% of consumers expect this to actually happen.
Nearly half of in-store shoppers (48%) believe that they typically know more about a retailer’s product than the store associate.
While 47% of shoppers continue to ask store associates for their opinions on products, 67% sometimes have doubts around whether associates are telling the truth.
And in a telling indictment, more than a quarter of in-store shoppers (28%) agree that robots could replace store associates and do a better job.
On a more positive note, 48% of those polled cite the convenience of online shopping as another reason not to set foot in the shopping mall, while more than 80% of consumers research products online before going into a store. More than half of consumers (53%) bring price comparison information with them when shopping.
But consumers aren’t playing the omni-channel game with less than a third (33%) downloading retailers mobile apps (33%) or seeing a connection between retailers’ online, mobile or in-store channels.
Over one-third of Millennials (ages 18-34) who shop at stores (36%) want retailers to know who they are when they walk into stores with location-based technologies, while two-thirds of them say they are wiling to disclose personal data and social media profiles to brands if it results in better service.
This is clearly a global problem as a second poll sample of UK consumers came to some very similar conclusions. For example, almost half of British men (47%), and more than one-third of women (36%), say they typically know more about a product than the store associate.
I've done one trip to the mall for Christmas shopping. Never again!
Disclosure - at time of writing, Salesforce is a premier partner of diginomica.