New research from Oracle reveals that an increasingly democratic relationship is emerging between digitally-empowered consumers and retailers, forcing retailers to re-evaluate technology investments and strategic initiatives to capture loyalty, drive spend and remain competitive. The New Retail Democracy, a study issued this week by Oracle, finds that consumers are demanding better access to information, product and process, along with more individualized interactions with retailers as they take ownership of their retail experiences. This requires retailers to prioritize the provision of a commerce anywhere business model to be relevant and competitive in today's complex global marketplace.
The New Retail Democracy survey findings disclose the single biggest challenge for retailers is to understand, empower and represent the digitally-empowered consumer across all touch points. Results demonstrate that 93 percent of respondents want to understand availability of products, and 58 percent rate it as more important than price, indicating that "Availability Always" is a priority.
There is an undisputed link between availability, loyalty and spend, with 46 percent of respondents admitting to being more loyal and 30 percent likely to spend more with a retailer that provides information about products' availability. Furthermore, 92 percent report that they will not wait for a product to come into stock, with 88 percent indicating they will source a product elsewhere in this situation, placing pressure on retailers to integrate demand forecasting, planning, merchandising, supply chain, marketing and commerce capabilities across all touch points.
The study finds that "Access Anywhere," or access to information in stores, online and on mobile devices, is vital to enabling consumers to make purchases at anytime and anywhere, requiring retailers to align business processes and touch points to connect the customer journey regardless of purchase path.
Empowering retail employees, particularly retail assistants, with access anywhere is equally important in reducing the disconnect with empowered consumers and helping to ensure they can support productive and profitable interactions at every opportunity. 73 percent of respondents highlighted the importance of "Individual Retail," meaning every interaction with a retailer should be relevant to the individual consumer based on their interests, requirements and purchase history.
With 48 percent of respondents willing to buy direct from brands, it is more important than ever to enhance consumer engagement by using science-based retail analytics tools to deliver relevant and insightful interactions that improve brand affinity.
82 percent of consumers consider the adoption of new technologies important to their retail experiences and are using multiple touch points, including mobile phones, click and collect, social networking sites and online magazines to complete their shopping journeys.
The store remains vital to the provision of commerce anywhere with a majority of respondents rating the physical interaction with products and people as being important to enhancing their shopping experiences. However, retailers must commit to investing in these operations to transform them by offering value-add services and activities that support local communities.
In the next few weeks, Oracle will share detailed regional analysis of this research through a series of international events and communications. For more information and full research findings, visit http://www.oracle.com/newretaildemocracy
"As consumers continue to dictate how, when and where they make purchases, Oracle believes that providing commerce anywhere is imperative for retail success." said Mike Webster, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Retail. "Retailers need to invest in aligning and integrating retail processes with the needs of individual consumers to compete and grow effectively in the New Retail Democracy."
Oracle commissioned the survey in December 2013 to explore the shopping habits of 4,500 consumers from Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the UK and USA and in particular, to examine whether retailers are meeting their needs.