Accenture Study Shows U.S. Consumers Want a Seamless Shopping Experience across Store, Online and Mobile That Many Retailers Are Struggling to Deliver

Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:00am EDT

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Brick and mortar stores fight back as 88 percent of consumers admit to
`webrooming` - browsing online and then buying in a store
NEW YORK--(Business Wire)--
Retailers that deliver on their customers` expectations and provide them with a
seamless shopping experience - whether they are shopping in a store, online or
through a mobile device - will win their loyalty and gain a competitive
advantage that drives sales, according to new research by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

Based on a poll of 750 consumers in the United States, and an analysis of how
top retailers operate across multiple sales channels, the Accenture Seamless
Retail Study found that half (49 percent) of consumers believe the best thing
retailers can do to improve the shopping experience is to better integrate
in-store, online and mobile shopping channels. An overwhelming 89 percent of
consumers said it is important for retailers to let them shop for products in
the way that is most convenient for them, no matter which sales channel they

Consumers remain bullish on the in-store shopping experience: almost all survey
participants (94 percent) found in-store shopping easy. They are less bullish,
however, about their experience with other shopping channels: 74 percent said
online shopping is easy, but only one-quarter (26 percent) found the mobile
phone shopping experience easy. 

"Seamlessness is a tall order for most traditional retailers," said Chris
Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture`s Retail practice. "In many
cases we have found a significant gap between consumer expectations and reality,
but we believe seamlessness is achievable. Traditional retailers must take stock
of their operational capabilities. They require a presence at every stage of the
customer journey to deliver a consistently personalized, on-brand experience
from discovery through research, purchase, fulfillment and beyond to product
maintenance or returns." 

Choosing Channels for Seamless Shopping

Regardless of their original shopping touchpoint - in-store, online or mobile -
consumers expect their interaction with retailers to be a customized,
uncomplicated and instantaneous experience, according to the survey. The
research also indicates that consistency weighs heavily on the consumer
experience. For example, 73 percent of consumers expect a retailer`s online
pricing to be the same as its in-store pricing, and 61 percent expect a
retailer`s online promotions to be the same as its in-store promotions. 

Yet, a benchmark analysis by Accenture of the top retailers globally indicated
that while 73 percent offer the same promotions online as in the store, only 16
percent offer the same prices online as they do in the store. Additionally,
while 43 percent of consumers surveyed expect a retailer to offer the same
product assortment online as they do in the store, only 19 percent of retailers
actually offer the same product assortment, according to Accenture`s analysis of
top retailers. 

"Showrooming" and "Webrooming" Are Here To Stay

The survey found that as online shopping continues to grow as a consumer
preference, there is a mutually beneficial relationship between stores and
online channels. For example, while in the six months prior to the survey, 73
percent of respondents indicated that they participated in the practice of
"showrooming", or browsing at least once in-store and then buying online, an
even larger number - 88 percent - said they participated in "webrooming", or
browsing first on the Internet then buying in-store. 

Of the consumers who had showroomed in the six months prior to the survey, 41
percent said they are doing that more than they were the year before.
Additionally, the survey found that 43 percent of all U.S. consumers plan to
shop more online and 23 percent plan to shop more with their mobile phones in
the future. 

When asked what kind of information it would be useful to have from their
favorite retailers before going to a physical store, 82 percent of consumers
selected having access to current product availability as their top choice.
However, the Accenture research showed that this is offered by only 21 percent
of retailers. The survey also found that 30 percent of shoppers want retailers
to provide a crowd indicator that would allow them to know how busy the store

"Stores remain a crucial asset by which traditional players can differentiate
themselves from the online pure-play retailers," said Donnelly. "They can serve
as a showcase for desirable brands and places where customers can enjoy an
experience and social interactions." 

The survey also highlighted the following findings:

* After purchasing, 81 percent said it is important for a retailer to enable
them to pick up or arrange for delivery of their purchase regardless of how they
paid for the item. 
* One-quarter (25 percent) of survey respondents said they would be willing to
wait a whole two weeks for free shipping. 
* Other consumers are willing to pay for speed and convenience: 24 percent said
it is important for retailers to offer same-day delivery, including 30 percent
who are willing to pay $5-$10 and 19 percent who are willing to pay $11-$20 for
same-day delivery. 
* The ability to offer a range of different fulfillment capabilities is
something offered by just over half (56 percent) of retailers; however, only one
quarter (26 percent) have a same day delivery capability. 
* When respondents were asked what they would do if a retailer has a product
they want but it was outside normal business hours, 39 percent said they would
wait until the morning for the store to open to purchase, 36 percent would buy
it online from that retailer, 22 percent would search for the best price and buy
the product somewhere online. 
* 49 percent surveyed are influenced by in-store offers (via promotional
displays, salespeople, etc.), 56 percent are influenced by email coupons and
offers and an equal amount of respondents say they are influenced by coupons
mailed to their home. 
* 69 percent and 62 percent respectively said that online pop-up ads and mobile
banner ads would never influence their purchasing.

Accenture is working with retailers across the world to help them provide a
seamless shopping experience to their customers. Accenture Seamless Retail
Services is a business service that helps retailers to execute price,
promotions, assortment and inventory consistently and effectively across
multiple channels to build customer loyalty and drive up sales. This end-to-end
business service combines Accenture`s industry expertise with its management
consulting, technology and business process outsourcing capabilities to deliver
outcomes as a service. 


Consumer Survey: Accenture conducted an online survey of 6,000 adult consumers
in eight countries, 750 U.S. consumers, in November 2012. 

Retailer Benchmarking Study: The Retailer Capabilities Benchmark Study was
conducted by a team of Accenture Retail consultants and covered 62 of the
world`s largest retailers. The consultants benchmarked retailers using a list of
80 questions to assess the breadth of their multichannel offering and different

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing
company, with approximately 261,000 people serving clients in more than 120
countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across
all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world`s
most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them
become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net
revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home
page is

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