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SEAMLESS RETAILING

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Global consulting company Accenture just came out with research that documents what we’ve been saying for years: online and in-store are converging as shoppers demand bricks-and-mortar stores evolve to provide the benefits of online and vice versa.

Specifically, the report highlights these insights:
1. Online Experience In-store: More people are buying online but picking up at a store. Some are also ordering in-store and having delivered to their homes.
2. More Webrooming, Less Showrooming: The study found that 78 percent of U.S. shoppers had webroomed (browse online then visit a store to make their purchase) in the 12 months before the latest survey, while 72 percent had showroomed (visit a physical store to see a product and then search online for a better price and make purchase online).
3. Free Beats Speed of Delivery: Though people have expectations of faster delivery, 57% of respondents preferred to wait rather than pay for next-day service.
4. Retailers Aren’t There Yet: Survey respondents noted that they find offerings vary too much between online and in-store. Retailers who figure this out – and many are working feverishly to do so – may enjoy a competitive advantage.
As Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice, says, “Delivering a seamless experience across all retail touch points remains both a key challenge and prime opportunity for retailers today.”
As long as shopping remains a vital part of the American economy, retail stores will, too. Those retailers that deliver seamless shopping experiences – whether from one’s phone, PC or shopping cart in an aisle – will remain vital to American shoppers as well.