MuleSoft, provider of the leading platform for building application networks, today released a new global report titled Customer Experience and the Connectivity Chasm. Based on a survey of more than 9,000 consumers, the report analyses whether organisations are meeting customer expectations for a connected, personalised experience across industries and geographies. Disconnected experiences — the failure to personalize consumer data across touch-points and inability to provide information in a timely manner — were a recurring source of frustration for consumers.
Better connected data = greater customer loyalty
The Customer Experience and the Connectivity Chasm report found that despite the hype around technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and internet of things (IoT), consumers place greater value on retailers doing the basics well. The report shows that retailers still have difficulty delivering the connected shopping experiences that today’s consumers expect.
- 80% of consumers say out of date or inaccurate data (e.g., stock availability, delivery tracking information) would make them likely to shop with an alternative retailer next time.
- The most important factors in determining retail customer loyalty are cost (63%), the accuracy of inventory availability / real-time delivery information (41%), in-store customer experience (40%), and consistent experience across in-store, online and mobile (36%).
- 58% of consumers say retailers provide a disconnected experience across channels, up from 56% in 2018.
- Consumers in Germany (60%), France (67%) and Singapore (70%) indicated a higher level of dissatisfaction with the experiences they receive.
- 60% of consumers said they would consider changing retailers as a result of receiving a disconnected experience – an increase from 57% in 2018.
Consumers’ in-store experience Christmas wish list
Consumers are most keen for retailers to address the core fundamentals of stock availability and service this Christmas. Younger consumers are more willing to spend with retailers that provide a more digitally connected in-store experience.
- Almost a third (30%) of people say that they would spend more money with a retailer that used technology to provide a more digitally connected in-store experience this Christmas, than one that does not.
- Real-time visibility into stock availability (37%) and buy online and pick up in store (37%) were the in-store experiences consumers most hoped to see this Christmas.
- Just over a quarter (27%) of consumers hoped to see accelerated checkout (e.g., quick mobile checkout, Amazon Go), with those in the U.S. (34%) and Singapore (39%) especially keen to see this.
- Consumers aged 18-34 years old (49%) were most likely to spend more, compared to those aged 35-54-years-old (33%) and 55+ years-old (16%).
“Despite the hype around how technologies like AR/VR and IoT are going to transform retail experiences, consumers continue to value service above all else. Being able to provide consumers with accurate, real-time inventory and delivery tracking information should be a prerequisite, yet it remains a challenge for many retailers who have siloed legacy systems,” said David Chao, vice president of product marketing, MuleSoft. “Retailers that leverage APIs to successfully integrate their existing legacy systems in an application network will be much better positioned to deliver a connected retail experience.”
The retail innovation gap
While there is a lot of technology innovation being talked about in retail, the research shows that not much of it is actually being seen in local stores. This finding indicates that retailers face challenges innovating at scale.
- 44% of consumers said they hadn’t seen technology innovations (e.g., cashierless stores, mobile-driven in-store experiences, personalised offers, interactive displays, AR/VR) at their local retail stores.
- Technology innovations were even less prevalent in the U.K. (55%) and France (56%).
- From the technology innovations listed, cashierless stores (29%), mobile-driven in-store experiences (19%) and personalised offers (19%) were the most commonly seen in local retail stores.
The personalisation opportunity
Among younger consumers, there is an opportunity for retailers to deliver a more personalised experience through targeted offers and customized products.
- 50% of consumers would be willing to allow retailers to share relevant personal information with partners and trusted third parties, to receive a more personalised customer experience.
- Consumers in France (58%) and Singapore (70%) were the most willing to share information for personalisation.
- More than two-thirds (69%) of 18-34-year-olds would share information for personalisation, double that of consumers aged 55+ (33%).
“In order to innovate at scale, retailers need to ensure that new technologies are deployed and integrated effectively with existing systems across their ecosystem. This can be achieved by creating an application network, which connects retailers’ applications, data and devices seamlessly. By taking this approach, retailers can better unlock the value of customer data and provide personalised customer experiences,” said Chao.
This global survey was commissioned by MuleSoft and independently carried out by Opinium Research. The total sample size was 9,030 adults: U.K. (2,002 adults), U.S. (2,003 adults), Germany (1,000 adults), France (1,002 adults), Australia (1,000 adults). Singapore (1,010 adults) and Japan (1,013). Demographic split 18-34 years-old (2,084 adults), 35-54-years-old (3,410 adults) and 55+ years-old (3,536 adults). Fieldwork was undertaken online between 15-22 August 2019. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adult populations (aged 18+).