The Riverbed Retail Digital Trends Survey 2019 has revealed that brick-and-mortar retailers are more apt to grow and maintain a loyal customer base if they invest in the digital experience they offer shoppers both online and in-store.
The survey of 1,000 Australians explored insights and perspectives of consumers regarding the digital retail experience and what they desire from retailers to stay engaged, satisfied and loyal.
87% of Australian consumers said a positive digital shopping experience impacts brand loyalty just as much as their prices.
79% believe brick-and-mortar retailers have a short, three year window to provide shoppers with strong digital experiences in order to remain competitive.
This is significantly higher than what retailers said in Riverbed's 2018 survey, which found only 56% of Australian retailers think their company will need to adopt new technology in the next three years to evolve and stay competitive.
Riverbed Technology ANZ VP Keith Buckley said that this was a huge period of change for Australian retailers.
“The Australian retail industry is going through a tremendous period of change, with retailers struggling to remain relevant to consumers in the 'Amazon era'.
“With customer expectation continually on the rise, delivering a positive digital experience to consumers has never been more critical to retail success.
“This doesn't mean retailers must invest in every new technology that comes along, but what we are hearing is that near-term IT investments that boost the online and in-store experience will be the sweet-spot to giving customers the best experience possible.
“Overwhelmingly, investing in digital is proving to be a key driver to customer loyalty.”
42% of Australian consumers said they have specifically visited a store for the first time because of the enjoyable online digital experience that the brand provided.
That number jumps to 60% for millennial shoppers.
When Australian consumers were asked to rank the three most important online features, the ability for sites/apps to load quickly (60%) is considered most important, followed by an appealing design including photos/videos (57%).
The digital experience for consumers doesn't start and end online, as consumers want brick-and-mortar retailers to offer in-store digital services and features that enhance the overall shopping experience.
The most popular digital offerings that consumers typically take advantage of while shopping in-store include in-store wi-fi (30%), opting for digital receipts via email at check-out (24%), using a store-specific mobile app (22%), and using third-party mobile apps for things like digital coupons, discounts or price comparison shopping (18%).
While the idea of drone delivery continues to make headlines, many Australians have split and differing opinions about it.
While 40% are positive on drone delivery, 60% are not.
However, 55% of millennials are positive on drone delivery, with 31% saying it's cool, and 25% saying it is efficient.
For shoppers to be happier in-store over time, retailers will need to provide less, not more, human interaction.
While, overall, 84% of consumers said they would like to interact with humans rather than technology at least for part of the shopping experience, the picture starts to shift when it comes down to specifics.
For returns or help finding items in-store, 57% said they want to interact with humans rather than with technology.
However, for making a purchase and getting shopping recommendations or fashion advice, 58% and 67% respectively, would prefer to interact with technology versus humans.
67% of Australian shoppers that had poor digital shopping experiences have taken some form of action as a result:
40% - decided to shop at a different store
37% - told family and friends about the negative experience
27% - contacted customer service with feedback
21% - returned an item they had purchased
17% - posted negative reviews online
While consumers want great digital experiences, they are cautious when it comes to stores using their personal data to deliver a more customised experience.
66% prefer not to sacrifice their personal data and receive a less tailored service, while 34% are willing to give up data for a more personalised experience.