Shopping Behavior is Shifting — Here’s How Retailers Should Respond

As technology and consumer behavior converge to inform an increasingly complex retail landscape, it’s imperative that retailers adjust. A report released by post-purchase experience service Narvar revealed that shoppers’ preferences for communication with retailers are undergoing great changes.

Among key findings was that advanced technology is on the rise (think voice assistants and bots driven by artificial intelligence); data revealed that 79 percent of shoppers have used text, messenger apps or voice devices, and 74 percent have used live chat while shopping.

Sixty-five percent of customers who interacted with a bot encountered a positive experience, but the report cautioned retailers to be judicious in their use of AI to ensure it adds value to the shopping experience, rather than running the risk of frustrating customers further.

Results also revealed that most shoppers generally prefer to hear from retailers via email, but consumers — especially millennials — are becoming increasingly open to texts and push notifications (especially if a message is critical and involves order confirmation or tracking information).

Accordingly, the report urged retailers to collect contact information to adapt to whatever touch points their customers prefer. It noted that at least 38 percent of shoppers want to hear from retailers on various channels.

When a problem arises, results revealed that most shoppers will first try to resolve it by themselves. Shoppers under 30 (at 88 percent) are most likely to do so (i.e., using the retailer’s website or chat service) — so retailers should incorporate appropriate technology for enhanced self-service options.

While there may be no silver bullet (“Customer communications are never one-size-fits-all,” confirmed Narvar CEO Amit Sharma), the report’s results and recommendations confirmed that the way people shop is changing — and retailers must, too.

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