Grocery retailers close the gap between digital experience and customer expectation

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Grocery retailers have significantly improved the digital experience they provide over the past 12 months, with the industry emerging as the top performer across the eight industries surveyed in SAP Australia’s 2017 Australian Digital Experience Report.

The report, based on input from more than 4,000 shoppers in Australia who rated more than 11,000 interactions against 14 attributes, found overall digital experience has improved from last year.

For the first time since the survey was conducted in 2015, five industries posted positive results. Retail grocery brands led the way, improving their combined digital-experience score from -4 to 10 over the past 12 months. Banking, with a score of 7, media and entertainment (6) and retail consumer (4) also returned positive digital-experience scores.

Overall, the proportion of surveyed consumers ‘unsatisfied’ with their digital experiences has dropped from 40 per cent to 35 per cent, while the number who are ‘delighted’ has increased from 26 per cent to 31 per cent.

Head of SAP Hybris Australia and New Zealand Stuart O’Neill says consumers have been more satisfied with their digital experiences with grocery brands as companies have been preparing their platforms to increase customer loyalty ahead of the arrival of global competitors.

“[They’re] creating better online shopping experiences for time-poor customers, integrating this with an in-store experience via click-and-collect services,” he said. “Grocery retailers are also making it easier and quicker to buy from supermarkets without having to navigate aisles and join check-outs, by offering mobile apps to simplify a shopper’s experience. These are some of the ways they’re using digital channels to improve their customer-experience scores and to offer omnichannel experiences at a new level.”

New to this year’s research, the report highlights how brands can improve their digital-experience scores by enabling customers to interact across multiple channels. Brands delivering an omnichannel experience, compared with those that offer a single channel, saw a lift in Net Promoter Score (eight per cent versus -1 per cent) and customer loyalty (43 per cent would remain loyal versus 38 per cent).

The research also revealed that 43 per cent of surveyed consumers used at least five channels to engage with brands. These include physical stores, contact centres, mail, websites, live chat, social media and mobile apps.

With more consumers now expecting omnichannel interactions, brands need to ensure integrated and cohesive consumer experiences or risk losing customers, according to Mr O’Neill.

“Consumers no longer view each brand interaction in isolation – they want a consistent experience at every touchpoint,” he said. “The best-performing brands across industries are looking outside the box and ensuring each consumer interaction is optimised, personalised and, above all, delightful.”

The Australian Digital Experience Report also indicates that consumers are leaning towards more traditional channels, or those with very clear value, suggesting a need for companies to have a clear and consistent strategy across all digital channels they choose to implement.

“Organisations need a digital-business-transformation partner to help them look across channels and at emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and machine learning, to build and support the digital experiences they offer,” Mr O’Neill said. “Technology such as SAP Hybris can give customers meaningful experiences across every channel, respond to behaviour in real time to satisfy customer needs, find new revenue streams and streamline and optimise the sales process.”

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