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Only 4 in 10 shoppers completely trust retailers to fulfill orders as promised

By Ryan Morris-Reade, Fri 12 Nov 2021

A new survey confirms a large trust gap between shoppers and retailers.

The 14th Annual Global Shopper Study by Zebra Technologies found over half of the decision-makers surveyed (55%) believe they are completely trusted to fulfil online orders as promised, but only 38% of shoppers indicate complete trust in retailers. 

The survey found retail associates are wary of their employers' capabilities, with only 51% completely trusting their employer's ability to deliver or fulfil customers' online/mobile orders as promised. In an attempt to improve this level of trust, retail decision-makers are increasingly embracing solutions that elevate the contributions of front-line staff and improve how inventory is planned and executed in stores and the broader supply chain.

Consumers returning to stores but not to pre-pandemic shopping behaviours

Although two-thirds of shoppers say they plan on returning to brick-and-mortar locations in the coming months, most (73%) want to get in and out of stores quickly. Sixty-five percent are still worried about exposure to others, and not as many trust retailers to adhere to health and safety mandates or protocols in stores as they did in 2020. Some shoppers don't even want to go inside a store to make a purchase.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) would prefer to have items delivered to them rather than pick up orders at the store or other location. And over three-quarters (77%) say they have placed a mobile order, with over half of Boomers taking advantage of mobile commerce (m-commerce) options. Thirty-five percent of Boomers say they have used mobile apps for grocery or food delivery specifically.

Shoppers are also researching product pricing (50%) online before they leave home - nearly one-third check store inventory before they leave home, while only 19% did so in 2019.

New omnichannel shopping behaviours taking hold in brick-and-mortar stores

Around one-third of consumers say they use mobile devices to lookup competitive prices or browse online websites for products during shopping trips. More than 70% confirm they have recently left stores without all the items they wanted, with nearly half citing items being out-of-stock as the reason for not making an in-store purchase.

Consequently, 58% of shoppers say it's faster to look up information on their smartphones than to ask associates for help. Most associates (64%) agree, leaving retailers unaware of when in-store customers are contemplating m-commerce purchases, possibly with competitors. More than 25% of surveyed shoppers have placed click-and-collect m-commerce orders while out shopping, some even completing mobile orders for home delivery.

Eighty-four percent of retail decision-makers know this "do-it-yourself" (DIY) trend is taking hold, and many are taking a closer look at how technology can meet customers' expectations and save sales. That's good news, considering a majority of shoppers don't want to spend their money with another retailer. Over six in ten say they would be willing to purchase out-of-stock items before leaving the store if they could pick those items up at another one of the retailer's nearby stores or the items could be shipped to their homes.

"The ongoing pandemic has resulted in an exponential rise in demand for click-and-collect and home delivery options, especially as retailers begin to add new fulfilment options and incentivise m-commerce transactions," says Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific, sales vice president, Christanto Suryadarma. 

"To adapt to these changes in consumer behaviour, many retailers have adjusted their processes and relooked at their perspectives on the importance of technology."

Retailers making online order processing and fulfilment more efficient

With retail channels blending more than ever, over three-quarters of decision-makers say increasing the efficiency of online order processing and fulfilment is a priority. Nearly nine in ten decision-makers confirm their company is now looking at ways to improve in-store pick and pack and warehouse fulfilment.  Over one-third of decision-makers are now converting store space into designated pick-up and returns locations, which could help divert traffic away from a central customer service desk.

"The convenience of mobile pick-up orders is such that customers can easily abandon their carts while shopping in-store in favour of fulfilling their orders elsewhere," says Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific, APAC vertical solutions lead, Healthcare and Retail, George Pepes. 

"This underlines the need for in-store associates to be equipped with mobile devices and applications that enable them to help shoppers complete their in-store purchases using alternative fulfilment options."

With labour shortages and associate satisfaction also impacting retail store execution, most decision-makers say they plan to deploy workforce and task management software in the next year. This is positive feedback, considering 70% of associates view their employers more positively when provided with technology. And over 80% say they could provide a better customer experience if they had mobile computers and barcode scanners in hand. Retail associates also believe analytics will help them have better daily experiences, and would rather manage their tasks and schedules using mobile apps and devices.

 

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