Small business owners looking for an opportunity to distinguish their business from larger competitors may want to start thinking about creating an in-store experience.
Consumers are utilizing multiple channels and resources to accommodate their shopping needs, yet 80 percent of retailers surveyed in new study said they are not training their staff to accommodate those needs. Those companies admitted their staff lacks training on how to handle showrooming, price matching and in-store requests for pickups. Additionally, those retailers said they have not prepared their workers to deal with customers who are highly educated about the products they are purchasing.
The survey polled 35 leading retailers, half of which were publicly traded companies. Companies that fail to take advantage of omnichannel opportunities — which blend smartphones, tablets, computers and other technologies into the shopping experience — are losing out to other retailers.
Just 18 percent of retailers in the United States said they have implemented a mobile point-of-sale system across their stores. Additionally, just 29 percent of retailers said they already have an in-store pickup system, but an additional 24 percent are planning to unveil a pickup program by the end of the year. Moreover, just 10 percent of respondents said they compensate their workers for their efforts with cross-channel sales.
"The seamless customer experience and speed of change, led by pure-play e-retailers such as Amazon, is setting a high bar for retailers operating both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels," said Antony Karabus, president of SD Retail Consulting, which conducted the research. "The pace of change to meet this high bar needs to accelerate as the pressure from these new competitors continues to grow."
"The largest retailers must examine every customer touch point and how they play their part in creating that seamless customer experience," he added. "For the minority of retailers who are successfully transforming their store environments, the rewards will be substantial."