Are retailers missing what shoppers really want?

Improving in-store experiences with mobile may be on retailers' radars, but a Deloitte survey suggests there's no overwhelming consumer demand for it.

Deloitte has published its retail outlook for the 2014 holiday shopping season and it includes consumer insights on online and mobile that are important to keep in mind year-round.

With the “2014 Holiday Retail Outlook” predicting a 2% to 2.5% increase in Canadian retail sales around the holidays this year, 81.1% of those surveyed said they expected the economic outlook to either stay the same or improve in the new year, with half saying they felt secure in their jobs. Despite that optimism, like last year, the biggest thing Canadians look for in a retailer is the lowest prices, although the ability to easily return and exchange products moved into second, replacing having a large selection of products, which moved to third.

When it comes to creating a good shopping experience, 75.8% said competitive prices were an important factor, followed by lack of pressure to buy (53.3%), quick check-out times (44.7%) and knowledgeable staff (42.9%). Only 9.6% said a festive, holiday atmosphere was important to their shopping experience, with 20% saying they were excited by in-store digital signage.

While retailers have been interested in finding ways to use mobile to improve the in-store shopping experience, it doesn’t seem like there’s an overwhelming demand from Canadians. Only 14% said they wanted to use a mobile device to skip the checkout line (29% were neutral), with 25% saying they would use their smartphone more while shopping if it made the process more efficient (30% neutral). Less than 10% of respondents said a multi-channel in-store experience was important to them.

On the other hand, Canadians do appear open to the idea of retailers collecting data, as long as it is being used to improve the experience. About one-quarter said they weren’t offended and 33% were neutral to the idea of retailers analyzing shopping and purchasing behaviour, with 26% saying they were in favour and 26% saying they were neutral to the idea of sharing personal data with retailers in exchange for special offers.

Home delivery was the most preferred method for online shoppers to receive their purchases, with 94% of respondents saying it was attractive (although 68% of respondents said the same thing about in-store pick-up). Despite this, less than 10% of respondents said flexible shipping and pick-up options were an important attribute for a retailer to have.

After a series of high-profile security breaches resulting in the exposure of consumers’ personal data, security during online shopping is an increasingly influential factor in Canadians’ online shopping habits: 49% say they are now more cautious when shopping online, with 58% saying they were somewhat concerned about online security and 22% saying they were very concerned.

Image courtesy Shutterstock