MuleSoft, provider of a platform for building application networks, has released "Consumer Connectivity Insights 2018," a survey of more than 8,000 consumers globally to analyse whether organisations are meeting customer expectations for a connected, personalised experience across industries and geographies.
The report found a strong demand for seamless shopping experiences like the "just walk out shopping" concept offered by Amazon Go, with 60 percent of consumers expressing a preference for this offering. Furthermore, the report showed retailers still have a long way to go in terms of delivering personalised and connected shopping experiences.
Among the key results of the survey:
Demand for a more frictionless experience
- Younger generations (18-34-year-olds) were found to be especially interested in a "just walk out shopping" experience, with 77 percent in favour.
- Geographically, those in Singapore (87 percent) and the US (70 percent) expressed the strongest preference for an Amazon Go experience, while consumers in the Netherlands (44 percent) and the UK (50 percent) were least in favor.
New communication channels
However, the research revealed that retailers can't just concentrate on the here and now, as new technology is rapidly increasing consumer experience expectations.
- More than half (51 percent) of consumers would like to use popular messaging services such as WhatsApp, Viber, iMessage or Facebook Messenger to securely interact with retailers. The number is even higher (63 percent) amongst 18-34-year-olds.
- 27 percent of consumers have engaged with a chatbot when contacting a retailer over the last 12 months.
"As consumer demands on the retail industry at large increase, some retailers are beginning to deploy IoT, VR and AI to enhance shopping experiences. The launch of Amazon Go this year, for example, raised the bar for seamless retail experiences," said David Chao, head of industry solutions, MuleSoft. "To meet rising consumer demands for new, frictionless experiences, retailers will need to ensure these new technologies are deployed and integrated effectively with existing systems across their ecosystem."
Retailers are not capitalising on personalisation
The research found that only 50 percent of global consumers think that retailers provide a personalized service. This is a missed opportunity, with further findings revealing that:
- 32 percent of consumers spend more with a retailer that provided a personalised experience than with one that didn't. Consumers in Singapore (47 percent) and the US (41 percent) indicated they spend more if they received a personalised experience.
- 53 percent of consumers would be willing for their shopping behaviour within retail stores and movements outside of them to be tracked if it meant they were able to receive personalised offers and promotions. This rose to 73 percent in Singapore, and 60 percent in the US.
Majority of consumers consider changing retailers due to disconnected experiences
The research also showed that delivering a connected consumer experience remains a challenge for many retailers:
- More than half (56 percent) of consumers believe retailers provide a disconnected experience across channels.
- Highlighting the impact, 57 percent said they would consider changing retailers as a result of receiving a disconnected experience. This is especially a concern in Singapore (71 percent) and Australia (67 percent), where consumers indicated they were more likely to change retailers following a disconnected experience.
"Despite the vast amount of customer data retailers should be able to capture online and through loyalty programs, many are struggling to meet consumers' expectations when it comes to delivering a personalized experience," continued Chao. "In many cases, retailers are not able to capture and take advantage of customer data because the CRM, ERP and POS systems they have in place cannot talk to each other. This leaves consumers with a disconnected experience. Those retailers that successfully connect their systems and unlock customer data, stand to reap significant rewards such as increasing customer acquisition, retention and spend. This can best be achieved by creating an application network, which connects applications, data and devices using APIs. This enables retailers to seamlessly integrate their existing legacy systems with new digital technologies as they continue to emerge, future-proofing the retail experience for whatever comes next."
This global survey was commissioned by MuleSoft and independently carried out by Opinium Research. The total sample size was 8,019 adults: UK (2,004 adults), US (2,002 adults), Germany (1,001 adults), Netherlands (1,002 adults), Australia (1,010 adults) and Singapore (1,000 adults). Demographic split 18-34 year-olds (2,282 adults), 35-54 year-old (3,029 adults) and 55+ years-old (2,708 adults). Fieldwork was undertaken online between 3-9 April 2018. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adult populations (aged 18+).