Help Your Customers Help Themselves

Save Them Money, and Time

Results from an interesting survey from NCR Corporation have been released. They indicate that 72% of U.S. consumers are more likely to shop with businesses that give them flexibility to interact easily via online, mobile, and kiosk self service channels.

The good news is that consumers are spending more time evaluating less familiar brands. Many are eager to switch stores to capitalize on deals and convenience.

"People assume that in an economic downturn the consumer is only motivated by price, but this research shows that retailers also need to deliver on changing service expectations that consumers say they value as well," said Mike Webster , chief strategy and communications officer for NCR Corporation. "Consumers in these uncertain times are clearly showing a preference for retailers that can meet their expectations through self-service options on the web, mobile and in store. These technologies are playing a growing role in helping retailers deliver competitive advantage."

There was quite a bit of interesting information to come from this survey. Look at these consumer stats:

- 53% are using the Internet more frequently to research products and prices.

- 46% want to receive price comparisons, product reviews, coupons, promotions and store sales information online or via email.

- Nearly half are switching between retailers to get better value.

- 80% said that they are buying discount or sale items.

- 26% are making more frequent shopping trips to take advantage of promotions.

- 21% are shopping at stores with more flexible hours and 17 percent are increasing trips in line with pay day.

- 63% are trading down to ‘own or store brand’ or generic products rather than ‘branded goods’.

- 44% are preparing meals for special occasions, rather than eating out.

- 43% are buying ingredients from scratch, rather than ready meals.

- 33% believe the tendency of other people to spend more time shopping is making stores busier.

- 44% report and increased desires to pay for shopping more quickly.

- 73% believe that it is important that store employees are available to help locate products.

- 55% believe it is important that employees ensure discounted items are not out of stock.

- 48% believe staff advice on discount and promotions is important.

- 72% said they are more likely to shop with a retailer that gives consumers the flexibility to interact easily via online, mobile and kiosk self-service channels versus a retailer that does not.

* 49% believe that kiosks that show them where to find products in stores would be convenient.

- 43% believe receiving discount offerings and product information on large screens in store would be convenient, while 39 percent want self-return solutions for processing returns quickly.

Basically, this all comes down to savings and convenience, but I think the survey results are a good indication of what consumers are looking for, and should provide some rough guidelines for those selling goods to go by. If nothing else, the survey provides a clear cut case as to why you need to have an online presence. For those of you still looking past this, the need is only going to grow in the future.

There are 3 Comments. Add Yours.
  1. You are so right, most of us like to be able to find what we  want, pay for it and go on our way. Some sites make you spend time upselling other related products which can be frustrating. Your article points out that ease of use is something every online merchant should pay close attention to.

  2. It wasn’t always easy for Amsoil Inc. to be ahead of the curve. Although the science behind the synthetics and related product options where ahead of their time, putting it in front of the customer and making it available had its challenges. The Internent and IT technologies changed all that. In spite of showing prospects and customers my Independent Dealer web site, which has all the options for making product and account choices, and making an email inquiry an option, I still get phone calls and the question, "have you got it, when and how soon can I can get it?"

    The online customer as well as the direct selling dealer moving through the shopping process has it easier than with  the automated and frustrating self-help grocery check out. I avoid them.  

    With distribution centers in Canada and the U.S. a 1-800 phone number, web site Online Store, account options and personal tech support, the rest is up to the consumer to make the choices. There’s no excuse for not making the "no brainer" decisions to save on automotive operation and maintenance.   

  3. this is really interesting, i would have never thought that so many consumers do that much research.

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