Consumer surveys throughout 2023 highlighted issues with customer service and technology use which will continue well into 2024 if retailers remain inactive on improvement.
In a global study from the Institute for Business Value, 20,000 consumers expressed dissatisfaction with retail. Only 9% of those surveyed say they are content with their in-store experience, and 14% with online shopping.
Despite a preference for physical stores by 73% of those surveyed, consumers surveyed want a greater variety of products available (37%), more information about products (26%), and faster in-store checkout (26%).
Most consumers surveyed (65%) are supplementing their in-store experience by using mobile apps while shopping. This demonstrates a trend toward a digitally integrated in-store experience.
Retail AI and global consumers
Online retail is not flawless, however. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed discover new products via the web, yet many expressed dissatisfaction with their online shopping journey, citing challenges finding the products they want (36%), insufficient information about products (33%) and cumbersome return processes (33%).
The retail industry also continues to incorporate the ever-improving capabilities of AI and consumers are taking notice.
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IBM’s survey shows a strong interest in using AI to enhance shopping experiences. Most consumers (59%) said they would like to use AI applications as they shop and 4 in 5 consumers who haven’t used the technology for shopping reported an interest in trying it.
Yet there remains a stark satisfaction gap for current AI assistant users surveyed. Only one-third of responding consumers who have used virtual assistants are satisfied with the experience and 20% were so disappointed that they don’t want to use virtual assistants again.
This signals a mismatch between current tech offerings and shoppers’ expectations.
As 2024 begins, retailers must allocate sufficient attention and budget to improving all customer-facing channels to maintain a loyal customer base that will protect them from economic headwinds.