We have previously talked about the importance of innovation when it comes to staying ahead of, or at least keeping up with, the competition, as well as a great way to gain and maintain a loyal customer base. Consumers are well aware of the importance of innovation in these areas. However, the main measure of success for any business is how well they can meet and exceed the customer promise at all times. Our recent joint survey invited the French consumer population to give their perspective on how innovation has changed their customer experience for the better, and also what type of changes they would like businesses to focus on moving forward.
Where have innovations improved your customer experience?
When asked about different types of innovation and whether they had improved their customer experience, e-commerce sites came out on top with over 80% of respondents believing this to be true. Express delivery and price comparison sites came up next with 71% and 70% agreeing, or mostly agreeing, that these innovations changed their customer experience for the better. Newer innovations such as virtual fitting rooms, in-store geo-tracking, and m-commerce applications don’t seem to create the types of shopping experiences that consumers are looking for yet, as they fell to the bottom of the list with between 51% and 67% deeming that they did not benefit their experience. Other changes, such as click-and-collect, self-checkout systems, mobile payments, and interactive touch-screen terminals hover between being slightly helpful and not really helpful. It is quite interesting to see that older, more established innovations are the ones that customers still appreciate the most, showing that their main concerns will always be the ease and speed of check-out times and delivery, and the ability to shop online whenever they want to.
What have innovations improved for you in your shopping experience?
Delivery times have now become a real competition with consumers looking to obtain their items faster and faster, and pure players such as Amazon offering express same-day delivery, or even within one hour in certain areas. This is pushing other retailers to provide similar advantages, and driving competition up. We asked our consumer group in which ways innovation had changed their shopping experience the most, and 45% responded that it allowed them to save time while shopping, and 36% said that it made their shopping experience easier in general. While most of the respondents had something positive to say about how innovations have changed their shopping experience, 21% stated that innovations are expensive and 20% deem that nothing has changed! While a lot has changed over the past 5 years in terms of shopping efficiency and delivery times, with 1/5 of the population not seeing any differences there are maybe some areas where companies need to catch up or review their processes. 17% of respondents find that innovations can be intrusive: a good indication of how important it can be for companies to know and understand their customers correctly.
How can companies improve more with innovation?
Consumers are looking towards innovation to continue to make their lives easier, mainly by reducing the time spent at checkout. While there have been many changes in recent years, 45% of shoppers still find that they are spending too much time checking out. A whopping 52% would like to see more innovations when it comes to loyalty programs, and 40% would still like faster delivery. While companies have been focusing on mobile applications and in-store enhancements, they still need to take heed of what the consumers are looking for, and enhance their customer experiences in ways that will continue to make their lives easier.