The physical retail store is falling far short of meeting consumer expectations for personalisation, according to a retail market report by omnichannel retail software provider iVend Retail, which provides new insights into ways in which retailers can deliver experiences that better meet customer expectations. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

The report, entitled 'Great Omnichannel Expectations', was based on a survey of 1,000 US and Canadian consumers and concluded that, while the physical store is still the most profitable channel for retailers, it still has much room for improvement when compared to the personalised experience consumers receive while shopping online.

Consumers have become conditioned by the convenience of eCommerce. It is essential for retailers to integrate many of the features consumers are experiencing while online shopping, such as targeted deals and advertisements.

"When consumers shop online, they receive an individualised experience - including loyalty offers or recommendations tailored to their specific preferences. While many retailers have made strides in this area, their efforts have not yet fully translated to the physical store, where the consumer is more anonymous," said Tim Barton, Director of Strategic Accounts at iVend partner CitiXsys.

Key themes and findings from the report included:

  • For convenience, online still rules. A significant majority of consumers said they find shopping online more convenient than in a store. A key concern for consumers is that the online shopping experience feels more personal.
  • More personalised loyalty offers and mobile point of sale would improve the store experience. More than four out of ten consumers would like exclusive offers sent to their phone when they enter a store. There is also interest from consumers in having sales associates use tablet devices to take payments so that they can avoid the checkout lines.
  • For many retailers, outdated loyalty programmes are a missed opportunity. Consumers missing out on loyalty points or coupons before the expiration date is a growing concern that retailers can address by offering digital loyalty programmes.
  • Nearly half of consumers are doing online research before they visit a store. Retailers must ensure their physical store is well integrated with their digital presence to cater to these informed shoppers.