As retail becomes increasingly digital, greater pressure is being felt on the brick and mortar side of the business. But even online retailers face challenges, according to Esteban Ribero, Senior Vice President, Planning and Insights, Performics. His company recently fielded a study using the Digital Satisfaction Index™ (DSI) to measure online consumer attitudes. "We executed a retail-specific DSI study surveying 1500 respondents that compared digital satisfaction for specific brands, as well as another study with 500 respondents for retailers in general" he explained. (You may download the Digital Satisfaction Index results below.) Esteban recently discussed issues related to digital satisfaction and the changing retail landscape with MediaVillage.
Charlene Weisler: What do you mean by digital satisfaction? What are themost important drivers in digital satisfaction?
Esteban Ribero: There are all kinds of studies done around consumer satisfaction but there has never been one for digital satisfaction in the retail space. We wanted to see what drives customer engagement in this area. We found that there are four components of digital satisfaction:
Weisler: What do shoppers generally think about the user interface of retail websites and apps? Is there a constant? Do some retailers do it better and if so, what do they do to stand out?
Ribero: We were surprised to find out that consumers were very satisfied already with the utility of their retail websites and apps. We thought that perhaps some consumers would find sites clunky or not very human but the research shows that people find the experience positive. Of the three retailers in our study (Lululemon, Gap, H&M), Lululemon customers were the most satisfied with the landing page and app experience and Gap customers were the least satisfied. This could be due to Lululemon offering a more modern digitized experience.
Weisler: What is the balance between privacy and personalization? Is there a concern about the ultimate use/sale of personal data?
Ribero: This was the most interesting takeaway from the study. There is a trade-off between privacy and personalization. We go with the assumption that consumers want more personalization and the industry strives to ascertain ahead of time what consumers may want to ensure greater personalization. However, as we have done that, consumers are pushing back because we have been tracking them using information that they did not give explicit permission for us to use for tracking. So they feel more concerned about privacy and all the information we gather about them. But at the same time they say that they want more personalized experiences. The struggle is they want more personalization without giving us any information to do that. What we need to do as an industry is be more open with the consumer as to what information we use to track them. When we don't do this, it tends to backfire on us. The trick is to make it feel like a generic message but to find a way to tailor it to the consumer. Don't put one's name on it ... it feels creepy.
Weisler: What is showrooming? What kind of shoppers are most likely to showroom, and how does showrooming fit into driving digital satisfaction for retailers if at all?
Ribero: Showrooming is the ability of consumers to experience the merchandise without having to actually order online. When consumers are shopping in a brick and mortar store, they may at the same time use their cell phone's mobile apps to browse products in that same store or [those of] competitors. That behavior is here to stay and we are seeing it more and more.
Weisler: Based on what you have seen in your research, where do you see the future of retail in the next 3-5 years?
Ribero: In the movie Minority Report, Tom Cruise enters a store and they know all about him -- his preferences, his past purchasing. We are getting to that but in a way that consumers see as being more controlled in their environment and their choices. At the end of the day, that is where the future is headed: Consumers taking control of their experiences, of the events they want, of the way they want to engage with brands. I see continued merging between the digital space and the brick and mortar space. Brands will continue to transform their stores as showrooms to [create] a seamless way for people to interact with them.
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