There is a radical shift in the consumers' purchasing behaviour due to the fusion of virtual and physical worlds. This was a sentiment clearly echoed by the retail community at the World Retail Congress in Singapore, held in March 2013. The collective voice at this key global industry event (constituting approximately 20 percent of the GDP of the top 52 countries), was that digitisation, personalisation and localisation are mandatory aspects for success in retailing globally, and especially more so in the Asia Pacific region due to the diversity of cultures.
This is further validated by a Consumer Study recently concluded by Motorola Solutions in Singapore around the end of 2012. The study revealed that:
- 61 percent of the respondents said out-of-stock items or the inability to spot promotions added to their discontent
- Sales staff interaction & product knowledge emerged as the main deal breaker, with 51 percent of customers identifying that as a key pain point in their shopping experience
- 31 percent of consumers encountered unhelpful staff at least five out of 10 instances
- The survey also revealed that the top pain points for retailers are out-of-stock items - this constituted 40 percent impact, while long checkout lines constituted 29 percent impact
The way forward
Never in the history of retailing has a customer been so central to future success. It is imperative for retailers to deliver a seamless customer experience across all channels and provide the right services and products at the right time to the customer. The good news is that future facing mobility solutions are available today. It is up to the retailers to embrace such technologies and align their businesses around the theme of the evolving customer. Constantly analysing customer behaviour is the way to get ahead of the customer and lead the experience game with the connected shopper.
Anand J Mehta is the director for Retail Industry at Motorola Solutions for SEA, India, Japan and Korea.
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