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PwC: Retailers should enhance services to boost customer experiences

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Consumer loyalty isn’t driven by rewards programs but shopping experiences that create strong psychological connections, according to a new report from PwC.

The report, "Experience Radar 2011: Retail Insights," surveyed 6,000 U.S. consumers across 11 industries and examined five core consumer experience attributes: accessibility, support, quality, presentation and social belonging. The report found that product knowledge and recommendations accounted for nearly one-third of good experiences related to support, while only 1% of said rewards programs alone influenced their purchasing decisions.

“Customers, like all of us, are social beings, seeking connection and community,” said Lisa Feigen Dugal, PwC’s U.S. retail and consumer practice advisory leader. “When retailers move beyond solely relying on points and develop experiences based on what’s most important to consumers, you not only drive loyalty, but you create ultimate brand ambassadors who spread the word on their positive experiences.”

PwC said these results indicate that retailers should consider enhancing their service by "investing in knowledgeable staff and leveraging front-line employees." Additional recommendations included:

  • Focus first and foremost on shopper experience: Use front-line staff to create experiences that result in psychological connections with consumers. Invest in service by training knowledgeable staff to help affirm consumer purchase decisions and to prevent buyers’ remorse;

  • Make customers brand ambassadors: Consumers who experience a positive shopping experience can be the best marketers for retailers, while a single, bad experience can cause widespread damage. Identify, incentivize and promote brand ambassadors;

  • Help consumers avoid risk: Attract new customers by helping them overcome psychological hurdles. Overcome shoppers’ worries about losing money on shipping, and press the emotional hot-button of free things. Reduce consumer purchase anxiety with flexible return policies;

  • Embrace the anytime, anywhere economy: With consumers shopping both online and offline, understand their shopping preferences before the competition does. Develop a multichannel strategy that makes it easy for consumers to shop online, offline, at home or in stores; and

  • When something bad happens, fix it: Provide customers with feedback channels as it may not be obvious that they are unhappy until they leave. Make sure that they are happy with the results—an apology may be enough to create an evangelist.

“In today’s economy, retailers must identify new ways to set themselves apart, and that begins with a clear focus on customer experience,” said Susan McPartlin, PwC’s U.S. retail and consumer industry leader. “A single purchase experience can leave a lasting impact on how the consumer identifies with the retailer, so it’s imperative that retailers enhance how they serve customers to minimize potential hurdles from beginning to end.”

Click here for the full report.

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New KimTech* wipes remove smudges from touchscreen devices

BY Allison Cerra

PHILADELPHIA — Kimberly-Clark has introduced new portable cleaning wipes designed to eliminate smudges from touchscreen devices.

Packaged in resealable pouches, new KimTech* wipes easily remove fingerprints, makeup and skin oil and grease, won’t scratch glass surfaces and virtually are lint-free, Kimberly-Clark said.

"Anyone who uses touchscreen devices knows how easily the surfaces get dirty and smudged, and wiping them with a T-shirt, pant leg, tissues or your fingers are not safe or effective ways to clean these," said Charlotte Ciccone, a marketing specialist for the Kimberly-Clark home professional business. "KimTech* touchscreen cleaning wipes are an easy-to-use solution, plus they’re small enough to store with your mobile device — in a pocket, purse or backpack — for a clean screen wherever you go."

KimTech* wipes are available in two-packs (10 wipes per pack) and three-packs (with 20 wipes per pack) for a suggested retail price of $3 and $7.49, respectively.

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Survey: 46% of adults will shop online on Cyber Monday, avoid in-store shopping on Black Friday

BY Allison Cerra

WHITING, Ind. — Nearly half of U.S. adults said they plan to shop online on Cyber Monday instead of in stores on Black Friday, according to a new CouponCabin.com survey.

Among the 46% of consumers that said they intend to shop online on Cyber Monday, more than two-thirds (35%) said their intention was to avoid crowds, 27% said they wanted to take advantage of the better deals online, 21% said it would help them save money on gas and 11% said online shopping will help cut back on in-store impulse shopping. Additonally, more than 4-in-10 (44%) Cyber Monday shoppers said that shopping online will save them a lot of time, while an additional 42% reported it will save them at least some time.

"The benefits to shopping on Cyber Monday surpass convenience and really lie in the amazing deals to be had online that day," CouponCabin.com president and chief savings officer Jackie Warrick said. "More than half of U.S. adults we surveyed said they plan to shop online that day, while 24% of those who are employed said they will do their shopping while they work. No matter where or how you plan to take advantage of online Cyber Monday deals, be sure to have a plan of attack to ensure you don’t miss out."

This survey was conducted online nationwide by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin.com from Oct. 25 to 26 among 2,115 adults ages 18 years and older.

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