Monday, November 12, 2007

What Consumers Want

Another report well worth the time: Sterling Commerce and Deloitte issued a report, What Consumers Want in Their Shopping Experience, that discusses what consumers want in online and traditional shopping.

While geared to retail, the findings also have applications all small businesses should put into play. Come to think of it, most of us could name some big dot com companies that would do well to keep these expectations of customer service in mind

Key findings:
  • Both online shoppers and offline shoppers had three major areas of dissatisfaction with their shopping experience: Lack of information availability, out-of–stock items, and lack of assistance/poor customer service from store personnel.
  • Consumers ranked online notifications higher than product rating and review features. Consumers also chose proactive notification of delayed shipments as one of the important features that increases trust in a retailer.
  • Tracking an order across channels is also a necessity, with 57% of consumers stating that it is important for them to be able to monitor the status of their order via the Web, a 1-800 number, or through customer service in a store,regardless of whether that order was placed online, through the catalog, or as a special order in a store.
  • Seventy-two percent of consumers say that finding sale items out of stock decreases their willingness to shop with that retailer. That is a huge number.
  • Sixty-nine percent say it is important for a retailer to be able to locate an out-of-stock product at a different location, and then provide the consumer with various delivery options.
  • Consumers are becoming more familiar with the experience of a single retailer offering products across multiple channels. They expect the communication and service options related to these products to be seamlessly merged.

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