Retail is rapidly changing, and 2017 won't be any different.
A new year brings new technologies, spending habits, cultural shifts, and mass adoption of established tech that is only now becoming more affordable and accessible.
If you want to ensure your business doesn't get left behind, you best pay attention to some of the new consumer data recently released by some of the biggest leaders in retail.
Here are 15 stats that will shape the retail industry in 2017.
1 in 5 customers use mobile devices to supplement their in-store shopping experience
Omnichannel retail is at the forefront of everyone's minds going into the new year. Consumers are more educated than ever before, and a big reason for that is the prominence of mobile devices.
Customers can compare prices and read reviews of products while in-store.
You can no longer afford to avoid building a solid online presence.
83% of customers check multiple screens at once while shopping online
Many consumers are hardcore shoppers, using multiple devices simultaneously to shop online.
Think about it, how often do you use your phone or tablet while watching TV? You likely didn't even realize it until I asked you just now. It's become that natural.
With our rapidly decreasing attention spans, keeping customers' attention is getting more difficult. Your business is going to have to work hard to stand out.
67% of customers expect retailers to have a consistent view of them as a customer
Again, omnichannel retail makes an appearance.
Customers want the same personalized experience every time, regardless of whether it is in-person or online.
Speaking of personalization...
75% of customers are more likely to purchase from a retailer who knows them by name
Most customers aren't asking for a lot. If you can remember the names of your customers, you're already ahead of most retailers.
If you're going to make an effort to remember the personal details of your customers, such as their name, do it well.
I've been going to the same Starbucks on my corner for months. They ask for my name and apologize for not remembering it again every single time.
It's Starbucks. They write your name on every cup you order. The apology every time is just a reminder of how they messed up again. Knowing they can't make enough effort to remember my name is worse than them even attempting it in the first place.
Do it right, or don't do it all.
75% of online customers expect to receive personalized assistance within 5 mins
Nobody wants to wait for anything these days, and that is only amplified when it comes to customer service.
The rise of messaging and on-demand services has left us rather impatient. This is especially true when dealing with online shopping.
When you're shopping online, there's a million other websites just a click away. If one business can't give you what you want, when you want it, you'll go to someone who can in just seconds.
85% of customers would abandon a purchase if they did not receive prompt service
Don't keep your customers waiting. They will leave.
I recently bought a coat at a Calvin Klein outlet store. There were two employees on the cash registers, and I watched as the line steadily grew and grew.
When one of them finished cashing out a customer, he didn't help the next person in line. He took off to go fold sweaters and chat with his friend.
Had I not been the next person in line, I would have simply left. There are a lot of places to buy clothing, and I have no interest in giving my time and money to a business who doesn't care whether I do or not.
As a retailer, never allow your reps to act like this. Your customers will go straight to your competitor.
40% of customers say that sales reps with deep knowledge improve the shopping experience
You gotta know your stuff.
Being an expert in your industry, field, or niche leaves an important impression on your customers.
Next time they have another problem, they'll come back to see you.
83% of customers prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels to solve customer service issues
Many companies are getting caught up in the bot "gold rush", and completely missing the point in the process.
People don't want to chat with bots online. They want to chat with other people online.
Slapping an automated customer service on to your online store or Facebook page is not going to cut it. People can see through it, and still crave that human touch.
Bots will never be better than humans. Remember that.
45% of customers are willing to pay more for a better retail experience
It's true. Apple's been doing it for years.
Don't get into price wars. Look to add value to your products and services instead.
You could even possibly raise your prices at that point.
90% of retail managers believe data-driven decision making has the ability to improve sales
It's taken awhile, but retailers have finally come around on the idea of using customer data to improve sales.
This data is valuable and, when used properly, doesn't have to be creepy at all. Customers want personalized experiences, and their data empowers you to give it to them.
Businesses that invest above the industry average in customer data enjoy a 200-300% boost in profits over competitors
Big data is more affordable and accessible than ever before, and retailers are finally starting to use it.
There's no good excuse for idle time anymore.
Use tools that unlock your precious data and turn it into actionable info for your sales team.
52% of digital customers have switched brands because of poor customer service
Again, don't let your customers walk out the door because of poor customer service. This applies to both in-store and online interactions.
Make switching to your competitors a hard choice to make.
Don't make it logistically difficult, of course. Make your customers want to stay with you.
The estimated cost of all this brand-switching is $1.6 trillion
Yep, that's TRILLION.
And in the wireless industry, the brand-switching is even more out of control. Carriers are spending insane amounts of money trying to convince their competitors' customers to switch to them.
But how are they doing when it comes to customer retention?
58% of retailers say in-store technologies help them acquire or keep customers
Focus on the "keep" portion of this stat. Acquiring customers is only half the battle. Keeping them is an even greater challenge.
In-store tech can help you do that.
Of course, in-store humans using that tech can help even more.
89% of brands expect customer experience to be their prime differentiator in 2017
Don't neglect your customer experience.
Many businesses fall into the trap of focusing too much on their products, while neglecting the buying experience.
Find buying obstacles and remove them. Make buying your products both enjoyable and dead simple.
Use these 15 retail stats to your advantage, and make 2017 your best year yet!
Source for all stats: PSFK Future of Retail Guide
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