Retailer's Mobile Capabilities Lag Customer Demands

Retailer’s Mobile Capabilities Lag Customer Demands

Retailers are failing to meet consumer demand for increased convenience while shopping with mobile devices, according to new research from Accenture.

Accenture conducted two pieces of research: the Accenture Adaptive Retail Report, which surveyed more than 10,000 consumers across 13 countries; and a separate benchmarking study that evaluated a global sample of 162 retailers in 10 countries across multiple industries. Taken together the research findings according to Accenture highlight the need for retailers to become more adaptive in order to embrace and achieve the connected and integrated shopping experience that consumers seek.

The survey found, not surprisingly that the number of consumers wanting to shop “on the go” with mobile devices, grew 10-percent in the past year from 36-percent 2014 to 40-percent in 2015. That growth was also coupled with an increase in the number of shoppers wanting more retail mobile services, particularly real-time in-store promotions. Yet, only seven-percent of retailers said they currently have the ability to send real-time promotions. Furthermore, while nearly one-third (32-percent) of shoppers want to be able to scan products in-store using their mobile devices — up from 27-percent in 2014 — only 17-percent of retailers provide scanning capabilities. At the same time, 42-percent of shoppers want to receive automatic credit for coupons and discount via their mobile phones — up from 35-percen last year — yet only 16-percent of retailers have the capability to automatically credit coupons.

The survey didn’t take into account there is no shortage of third-party apps (Qrafter, Red Laser) along with Google, Yahoo, Bing and Amazon apps) that can scan barcodes. One could argue that the consumer demand is actually being met. Still, it is vital that retailers need to add this functionality to their own apps unless they want their customers visiting others.

One demand that is being met is for improved mobile capabilities, the vast majority of retailers are offering smartphone-optimized websites (93-percent) and tablet-optimized websites (89-percent. The mobile sites could be optimized one step further: the research found that only 58-percent of retailers offer smartphone apps with purchase capabilities. But, most retailers allow purchases to be made from their websites whether on a mobile device or not.

Patricia Walker, senior managing director in Accenture’s Products practice and the company’s North America Retail Practice lead in a release statement said the survey confirms that retailers have begun to adapt to the evolving needs of their customers however challenges still remain, “The challenge they face is investing in building the important digital elements of their channel strategy while remaining focused on driving profits which in many cases is still primarily driven by stores. Retailers need to understand however, that they are actually involved in a race that will likely accelerate as consumers continually seek more value, greater convenience, and better customer experience across all channels.”

Some other research findings;

  • Trust continues to be an issue. 57-percent of shoppers are concerned that their personal information could be stolen compared to 49-percent last year. Currently, 34-percent are confident that their favorite retailer is safeguarding their personal information.
  • Health information is becoming less of a taboo subject for shoppers to share. In 2015 only 18-percent of shoppers were willing to provide health information to retailers compared to 27-percent in 2016.
  • Retailer capabilities that were nice to have are becoming must-haves. The ability to check product availability online prior to going to the store rose considerably for 2016, 49-percent compared to just 27-percent last year. While 28-percent of retailers provide store-specific stock availability information.

You can read the full report here.