Great(er) Expectations


In the past, the National Retail Federation has surveyed shoppers about a variety of topics, from technology to personalization. This year’s study?

Expectations. What exactly are people expecting to get out of a retailer when they begin moving toward a transaction? The survey of 30,000 respondents from 16 countries focused on apparel, luxe brands, shoes, consumer electronics, personal care and home merchandise showed that they are fully ready to tear down the walls between the physical and the digital. The top five things consumers anticipate from retailers are:

  • Price consistency
  • In-store, the ability to locate an out-of-stock item and get it to the customer at home
  • The ability to track order status
  • Consistent assortment of products
  • The ability to return in-store items bought online

These items are steadfast, holding up throughout all 16 countries and across all generations and income brackets.

A few other relevant details: The march toward shopping digitally continues apace. In 2012, people made 87% of their purchases in store—but that number dropped to 72% last year. Amazon’s growth rate is 33%, a number not many stores can match. There has been plenty of conversation around showrooming, in which consumers go to a store to see but then you buy online, but that trend only grew from 6% to 8% of purchases.

Not surprisingly, social is also a big buzzword. The survey found that 33% of people post about what they buy, and 53% visit a social-media site more than once a day. Another 43% of consumers post about their experience buying something at a retailer. But friends still rule when it comes to influencing purchases; 59% of respondents consider their friends to be the top source of advice for buys.

That said, people still want to hear from and talk to retailers. Fifty-two percent of people still find theirs emails relevant. And people willing to share their location went from 19% in 2011 up to 36% to 2013, as long as they get an offer or something else back.

Another 38% said they were willing to share their mobile number with retailers. In fact, not only did respondents think that was okay, some wondered why businesses aren’t already asking for their digits.

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