Shoppers Prefer Retailers That Move at Their Speed, According to Study

From lack of product availability to a challenging checkout process, there are many steps in the retail landscape that can persuade a customer to take his or her business elsewhere, particularly in the digital age. And according to new Salesforce data, that abandonment can ultimately be driven by a retailer’s inability to keep pace.

In its “Shopper-First Retailing” report, the cloud computing company noted that customers are now all about fast retail, patronizing brands that exhibit merchandising agility by offering transactions and experiences that move at their speed. The study found that 69 percent of respondents even expect to see new merchandise every time they visit a store or website.

Separately, 75 percent of site search queries are new each month, revealing just how quickly customers are discovering recently released product types and features. (Most of the top 5 percent of best-selling products on e-commerce sites change monthly, added Salesforce.) “Speed and freshness play an important role in generating long-term brand loyalty and driving repeat purchases — two areas where brands have lost ground to both traditional competitors and marketplaces,” the report states.

With the rise of experiential retail, it’s also no surprise that a majority of shoppers (59 percent) say they’re more likely to make a purchase from brands that provide customization. Salesforce cited Adidas, Lacoste and Puma as examples of brands that offer services apart from customary monogramming, allowing shoppers to get involved in the creative design process.

These findings come at a time when an increasing number of retailers are shuttering stores amid digital competition and the industry is facing a global trade war that’s doing little to quell market uncertainty. But not all is grim: The study added that sales were up nearly 5 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2018, with consumer confidence continuing to rise.

Salesforce partnered with digital solutions platform Publicis.Sapient to create the report, which combined behavioral insights from half a billion shoppers around the world, survey data from 6,000 people across six countries and mystery shopping visits to more than 70 brick-and-mortar stores.

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