British consumers say they want better access to information, products, processes and more individual and personalised retail interactions when shopping, according to global consumer research project by Oracle. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The report, entitled 'The New Retail Democracy', highlighted a number of opportunities for UK retailers to differentiate themselves and grow their business in a competitive marketplace which is dominated by increasing consumer power.

The study suggests that, in order to better understand, empower and represent consumers, retailers must invest in the right technologies to allow consumers to shop how they want, when they want, across all touch points.

British consumers contributed to the recent global research which explores the increasingly democratic relationship between retailers and the digitally empowered consumers. Among the key UK-relevant findings of the research:

  • Consumers felt that 'Availability Always' (i.e. access to information in stores, online and on mobile devices) is a priority, with 93% of respondents wanting to more easily understand product availability when shopping online.
  • There is a strong link between availability, loyalty and spend, with 40% admitting to be more loyal and 38% likely to spend more with a retailer that provides access to information about product availability.
  • 90% reported that they will not wait for a product to come into stock, indicating they will shop elsewhere for items, placing pressure on retailers to integrate demand forecasting, planning, merchandising, supply chain, marketing, and commerce capabilities across all touch points.
  • 61% of respondents highlighted the importance of 'Individual Retail', meaning every interaction with a retailer should be relevant to the consumer based on their interests, requirements and purchase history.
  • 72% of consumers consider the adoption of new technologies important to their retail experiences and are using multiple touch points, including tablets, click and collect and mobile devices to complete their shopping journeys.
  • Over half of UK respondents indicated that they are willing to buy direct from brands, showing the importance for retailers to enrich consumer engagement through science-based retail analytics tools.
  • Stores are vital to the provision of commerce anywhere, with 61% identifying a store-based interaction with products and people as being important to their shopping experiences. Retailers must commit to investing in these operations by offering value-add services and activities that support local communities.

"As British consumers continue to demand better control of how, when and where they make purchases, providing commerce anywhere is imperative for retail success," concluded Mike Webster, senior vice president for Oracle Retail. "Retailers in the UK and across the world need to invest in a truly aligned and integrated retail operation which places the needs of individual consumers at the forefront of its strategy."