I have a love-hate relationship with shopping. Actually, when I think about it, I quite like shopping as an experience. What I don’t like the way retail transforms that experience. You see, retail shopping is filled with frustration:
- There’s no or limited stock
- Loyalty programs are more of a burden than a benefit
- The digital experience is out-of-kilter with the in-store experience
- Customer service is an after thought.
And it seems I am not alone. The 2015 IBM Smarter Consumer Study: Shoppers Disrupted gauged global sentiment about consumers’ shopping behaviour. The extensive survey of 28,500 online respondents across 15 countries saw more than 1,800 Australians respond to the survey.
Some of the key findings include:
- Australian shoppers are less loyal than ever – 10% act as advocates while 37% act as antagonists
- 38% of 20-39 year olds prefer to shop online
- Online shopping is up across all categories (esp consumer electronics)
- Shoppers prefer to be in control – and that means a mobile experience.
You can register and download the full report here.
Now, much of this is not new. I have been analysing the structural, technological and strategic problems with retail for years. But Australian retail, in particular, has been slow to respond to the challenges (and opportunities) of digital disruption. And when they do respond, they often do so with the blinkered vision of incumbency. Does this leave the door open for nimble competition or does is just breed consumer mistrust and apathy? I’d love your thoughts.
The big question, of course, is when will retailers fix these problems? Those that do will reap the reward of an increasingly digitally-savvy customer base. Those that twiddle their thumbs will see their customers switch allegiances – or worse – become antagonists.