Brands are reportedly trying to understand and get a functional handle on the customer experience, but despite big investments and a data-rich toolset, this remains an elusive goal. More concerning is that the speed of technology is eclipsing CX progress at such a rate that, like the universe itself, this gap will continue to expand exponentially—and hopelessly.
New research from enterprise API commerce solutions firm Elastic Path reveals a deep disconnect between what modern consumers want and what brands deliver—and the most common retail pain points. The firm’s new study, The Sci-Fi Shopper: How to Future Proof Your Brand for the New Consumer, reveals that brands universally underestimated the issues their customers experience most:
- 57 percent of customers report long checkout lines as a pain point, while 35 percent of brands do
- 55 percent of customers report lack of inventory as a pain point, while 32 percent of brands do
- 42 percent of customers report customer wait times as a pain point, while 36 percent of brands do
- 38 percent of customers report uninformed staff as a pain point, while 20 percent of brands do
Brands think they’re doing well in delivering tech-savvy retail experiences, but their customers disagree
Brands invest heavily in trying to solve problems with technology, to the tune of $210B per year. Those surveyed in the new report rated their offerings in “futuristic” shopping a 7 out of 10. Customers rated them a mere 4.
“This report is a timely reminder that consumer needs are simple: They want to save time and money,” said Harry Chemko, CEO of Elastic Path, in a news release. “Customer loyalty really comes down to listening to your customers and solving simple problems.”
Consumers are willing to buy with new technology, but brands aren’t delivering
The research reveals a gap between the features customers use—or want to use—and what brands actually offer:
- 67 percent of customers want to use checkout-less payments, only 18 percent of brands offer it
- 57 percent of customers want to use voice commerce, only 23 percent of brands offer it
- 58 percent of customers want to shop using smart devices, 25 percent of brands offer it
- 55 percent of customers want to shop using facial recognition, 20 percent of brands offer it
There’s a lot of potential if brands get the ‘futuristic’ experience right. The majority of customers (81 percent) haven’t yet tried using voice technology to make purchases, but those who have are hooked. Of the consumers who have used voice technology to make purchases, 22 percent use it multiple times a week and 21 percent use it at least weekly. This proves shoppers have a strong appetite for new technology when it truly adds value to their busy lives.
The key to Sci-Fi Shopper loyalty—frictionless commerce, every time
“When it comes to new technology, brands continue to chase shiny objects. Consumers just want to buy the products they need with as little effort as possible,” said Darin Archer, CMO of Elastic Path, in the release. “Companies need a strong commerce backend that supports the latest innovations without sacrificing customer experience. It’s up to brands to make any experience shoppable. With the right tech, they can enable consumers to purchase almost without thinking, anytime and anywhere.”
Elastic Path collected this data from 1,015 consumers who shopped online in the six months before the survey. Brand data was sourced from 300 professionals who work in a marketing role for a B2C company that sells products online.