How Can Traditional Retailers Compete with Digitally Native Brands on Customer Experience?

July 10, 2020

Avionos Types of Personalization US Online Shoppers Expect Jul2020Some 76% of online shoppers cite fast shipping speed as a top characteristic of a great shopping experience, up from 62% in 2019. The growing importance of convenience in shopping is explored alongside other key traits in a recent report [download page] from Avionos, comparing digitally native brands with traditional retailers.

Convenience is Critical

In the survey of 1,250 US online shoppers conducted in February 2020, convenience shows up as a highly valued characteristic of shopping with any type of brand, both online and in-store. As in 2019, the top 2 characteristics of a positive experience with an online retailer were fast shipping speed (76%) and an easy delivery process (60%), with both figures up since last year.

In-store, respondents paint a similar picture with fast checkout being the most cited positive characteristic (60%), followed by easy to find products (56%) and a wide range of stock (54%).

The survey shows that there are differences in perceived benefits between digital and traditional retailers. Overall, respondents appear to turn to digital brands for short-term convenience but value traditional brands for their experiential factors and long-term relationship building. Asked to compare one with the other, respondents think digitally native brands do better when it comes to fast checkout, easy to find products and fast, free shipping.

On the other hand, according to respondents, traditional retailers are the place to go for effective loyalty programs, long-lasting customer relationships, helpful customer service, and useful in-store services.

Customers Value Personalization Online

Personalization is often a distinguishing feature of the online shopping experience. That said, only about one-third (34%) of North American online retail marketers say they use advanced personalization across the entire customer lifecycle.

More than one-third (36%) of the online shoppers surveyed say they expect personalized product recommendations on the side and/or bottom of the brand or retailer’s website homepage, making this the top-ranked expectation this year. Some 32% say that they want personalized discounts or offers for the specific products they are browsing, while 26% say they want personalized product categories featured on the brand or retailer’s website homepages.

Some respondents also expect to see personalized size recommendations for specific products they are browsing (22%), product recommendations in the form of pop-ups on the retailer’s website homepage (19%) and personalized color recommendations for specific products they are browsing (14%).

Only about one-quarter (27%) of consumers say they don’t expect online brands and retailers to personalize their experience.

Where Could Each Experience Improve?

Although both digital natives and traditional stores benefit from online customer reviews, just under one-fifth (18%) of respondents listed social media posts from influencers as one of the top 3 ways they hear about products of digitally native brands, while this option did not make the top 3 list for traditional retailers. Separate research also shows that younger consumers are more likely to find out about products via social media.

However, traditional retailers have a unique opportunity to improve on this. More customers associate high-quality products with traditional retailers (26%) than with digitally native brands (19%), and customers are more likely to post on social media about high-quality products (29%) than they are about an easy shopping experience (20%) or fast and free shipping (20%).

In turn, with 57% of respondents using online customer reviews to gain confidence in digitally native brands, the latter can benefit from ensuring that they have trustworthy customer reviews to boost the credibility of their products.

Read the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,250 US online shoppers fielded in February 2020.

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