Retailers 'are not prepared to address demands of tomorrow's consumers'

Demandware, Inc., the on-demand ecommerce provider, has released survey results that indicate that retailers are not prepared to meet the demands of Smart Consumers who use multiple, web-enabled touch points to interact with brands. The data highlights a gap between the touch points that retailers are currently offering, and the ways in which consumers expect to interact with brands now and in the future.

"While 87 per cent of the retailers we surveyed acknowledged they have to improve their existing multi-channel capabilities to serve today's consumers, only half believe that their organisations must change dramatically," said Jamus Driscoll, vice president of marketing, Demandware. "Our research suggests that all retailers must embrace new technologies and significantly change the way they approach multichannel commerce if they plan to meet or exceed web-savvy consumers' heightened expectations."

The gap in what multi-channel brand experiences consumers expect and what retailers are providing was strikingly illustrated throughout Demandware's research. Examples include:
Only 12 per cent of retailers allow consumers to download a retail or brand shopping application, while 23 per cent of consumers are currently doing this and 50 per cent plan to do it in the future

54 per cent of consumers would like the ability to click on barcodes or smart tags in magazines or catalogs that link to websites, but only 12 per cent of the retailers surveyed currently offer this feature

While 62 per cent of consumers say they intend to purchase products or services on mobile websites or apps, only 32 per cent of retailers currently enable this

Only 29 per cent of retailers allow consumers to use their mobile phones to check in-store product availability, yet 38 per cent of shoppers do this now and 52 percent expect to do it in the future

23 per cent of retailers allow consumers to add items to their carts via mobile phones and complete the transaction later on computer or tablet, but 51 per cent of consumers would like to be able to do this

"This research should put brands on notice that the traditional, channel-centric, transaction-based approach to commerce is no longer enough. Smart Consumers are demanding unified, highly branded experiences across all touch points," Driscoll continued. "Brands that don't marry consumers' growing expectations with their own operational realities will struggle to compete and thrive in the evolving commerce market."

Survey Methodology
Demandware commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a survey of web-centric consumers and multi-channel retailers across North America, UK, Germany and France. The survey, including 454 consumers and 192 retailers, was completed in the first quarter 2011.

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