Two new global surveys paint a picture of consumers who expect top-shelf experiences that merge the physical and digital worlds when dealing with brands.
Internet of Things device management solutions provider SOTI’s “From Clicks to Ships: Navigating the Global Supply Chain Crisis” 2022 report found that shipping transparency and speed are critical components to a successful consumer transaction. While that isn’t surprising, one item from the survey, that 34.8% of consumers said that knowing who the retailer’s delivery partner is impacts their decision to complete an order with the retailer, was a bit surprising.
Overall, though, the surveys reinforce trends that most are already aware of even as many brands still struggle to meet expectations.
“Retailers need to find a way to accelerate innovation and implement technology to communicate with consumers and partners, while also taking into consideration the fact that we’re still very much in a state of flux. This places a premium on the need for flexibility and scalability,” said Shash Anand, vice president of product strategy at SOTI.
The SOTI survey, which covered 10,000 consumers across eight countries, found that 69.3% of people expect to know where their order is within the delivery process at all times, and 64.3% prefer to shop with brands that offer the fastest delivery service. Additionally, 49.9% said they would shop from a retailer’s store if multiple return points are offered.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72.7%) are open to delivery at a designated drop-off point and over half (59.3%) said they would consider accepting deliveries from either autonomous vehicles or delivery drones.
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“Mobile technology can help the retail supply chain improve communications and customer experiences across the entire consumer journey. However, this requires significant back-end infrastructure and mobile tracking to create a seamless experience. By investing in mobile technology, brands and retailers can not only diagnose problems quickly and adapt to the evolving retail ecosystem, but ensure they remain on top of consumer needs, support employees out in the field and remain profitable,” Anand said.
The SOTI survey found that brands that made shopping a “premium customer experience” saw between a 4% and 8% increase in revenue.
“When you consider that customers will pay a premium — on average of 16% — for products and services from companies that offer a favorable customer experience, a strong mobile strategy has never been a more significant determinant of customer satisfaction than it is today,” the survey noted.
In North America, a quarter of all customers said they prefer the convenience of buying online, but they want those goods shipped from a local retailer. That rises to 52% across all nations.
The SOTI survey correlates in many ways to a report issued on Monday by Capgemini Research Institute. Capgemini’s report, “What Matters to Today’s Consumer,” focused on Gen Z and millennial shoppers and found that they were more likely to order directly from brands.
More than two-thirds (68%) of Gen Z and over half (58%) of millennials have ordered products directly from brands in the past six months, compared to 41% on average across all age groups and just 37% of Gen X and 21% of baby boomers.
The reason? A better buying experience. Almost two-thirds (60%) of the 10,000 respondents said buying directly from the brand created a better buying experience, and 59% cited brand loyalty programs.
“Younger consumers’ willingness to go straight to brands when purchasing goods presents a real opportunity for consumer product companies. This enables them to collect consumer data and helps create a more mature direct-to-consumer channel,” said Tim Bridges, global head of consumer goods and retail at Capgemini. “Being data-powered enables the consumer product and retail organizations to translate supply and demand trends into intelligent decisions on where best to stock their products, customize products and services, and enhance customer experience.”
While overall, consumers in the Capgemini survey expect to return to stores — 72% expect to have “significant interactions with physical stores once the pandemic subsides” — 22% anticipate having a high level of interactions with click-and-collect orders.
Like the SOTI survey showed, the Capgemini survey pointed to the importance of fulfillment and delivery, with 42% of respondents saying those are the most important service attributes.