CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
January 18, 2020
Forward Thinking

Retailers are failing to meet customer expectations, study shows

Companies are missing the mark on delivery, convenience, and the in-store experience, according to tech firm study.

Retailers are failing to meet customer expectations and often miss the mark when it comes to delivery, convenience, and the in-store experience, according to a study from business technology provider Oracle Retail, released earlier this month.

Oracle Retail surveyed 15,800 consumers and 210 retailers globally for its Setting The Bar study on the retail environment. The researchers found that retailers and customers don't see eye-to-eye on many aspects of the shopping experience—an especially troubling problem at a time when the lines between online and in-store shopping are blurring.

"Consumer expectations are perpetually in flux, with each positive experience setting a new bar for success in retail," Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Retail, said in a statement announcing the study results. "No matter if they're enjoying the convenience of ridesharing, browsing through a seamless in-app experience, or walking into a brick-and-mortar storefront, customers expect the same caliber of service in all interactions, upping the stakes for retailers as they compete with rival brands and new business models."

Among the "disconnects" between retailers and customers, the study found that:

  • Although 57% of retailers surveyed said returning products is "very easy," the same share of consumers (57%) disagreed and rated the return process as a "complete hassle" or said it "could be easier."
  • Shoppers and retailers are split on what constitutes their most important in-store experiences; 56% of consumers rate convenience, such as having their size in stock, as the top priority, while only 34% of retailers noted it as such.

The study also found that faster, more convenient delivery continues to reign supreme in the retail environment:

  • More than 90% of consumers said they want free one-day delivery by whatever means is fastest, including drone, driverless car, or a messenger. This is more than double (43%) the share of consumers who felt these delivery mechanisms would be 'awesome' when asked just last year. 
  • If they don't receive their delivery on time, 13% of consumers said they would never order from that retailer again.

Oracle Retail polled consumers and retailers in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and North America earlier this year for its Setting the Bar research.

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