Bad in-store advice causing retailers to lose £15bn per year
Brands across some of the top retail categories potentially missed out on close to £15bn in instore revenue in the past year, due to poor in-person advice. The finding comes from new research commissioned by field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko.
The study of 2,000 consumers, conducted by OnePoll, looked at what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought.
The research revealed 1 in 10 shoppers said they had walked out of a shop due to poor advice relating to a considered purchase they were definitely going to make. This equates to some £15bn in revenue overall over the past year.
The experiences vary across categories and age groups. Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories, including consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel.
Overall, 59.8% said they had received ‘excellent or good advice in store’, highlighting the benefit of human interaction and face-to-face sales.
However, £15bn could be a drop in the ocean of additional revenues that could be accrued with better advice. 37% of shoppers in the consumer electronics category revealed they would be prepared to spend more if they received excellent and knowledgeable in-store advice, indicating a golden opportunity for retailers. This compared with 30% of shoppers in the home improvement category and 27% in homeware/ home furnishings and 21% in clothing and apparel.
According to the survey, 50% of Brits made a ‘considered purchase’ in DIY during the pandemic, more than in any other category. However, only 1 in 5 (21%) rated the advice they had as ‘excellent’ in making the purchase. This was compared to 32% for baby and child, 31% for gaming and 24% for consumer electronics.
Meanwhile, 1 in 4 DIY shoppers (25%) were so disappointed by the advice they were put off making an expensive purchase altogether, with 11% pulling the plug on the purchase and walking out of the store.
Encouragingly for the future of physical retail, Gen Z are most likely to seek out great advice in store (45%) versus an average of 38% and are more likely to find staff knowledgeable across categories. They are also the most likely out of all ages to appreciate product demos (39%) against a 29% average across all ages.
1 in 2 Gen Z’ers (52%) and 38% of Millennials will spend more for a good experience in store across all categories – crucial for the development of experiential retail.
Meanwhile, a conclusive 85% of shoppers are now doing online research before making a considered purchase in-store. 84% of Gen Z, 45-54 and 55-64 categories were even higher at 89% and 90% respectively. Interestingly, 69% said a well synchronized online and offline experience would make them more likely to make a considered purchase.
According to Daniel Todaro, Managing Director, Gekko: “Our research highlights the timeless appeal of a positive engagement with an instore expert. While we have spent so much of the past year and a half shopping online – it is clear online alone is no replacement for the experience and interaction of trained advisors. They are consistently the best way to influence and convert a sale of a considered purchase item.
“While there is overall satisfaction, our survey clearly shows more can be done and retailers have potentially missed out of billions. Now, this is not to say that all retailers are doing it wrong. Those with a real customer service first mentality are doing it amazingly well.
“Every person that walks through the door should be viewed as a potential customer, an influencer, someone who will talk about you positively through their experience and tell others in person, online or on social media and is not viewed as just another body to ‘deal’ with.”
He continued: “Belying the stereotypes, it is also clear the generations who most welcome expert advice are the younger ones – indeed as our research indicates the right advice can lead to younger customers willingly spending more. This is good news for the future of bricks and mortar retail, but it doesn’t mean retailers don’t need to adapt.
“Our survey also shows that a joined up and seamless experience online and offline is also now expected with older generations also more likely to research. Brands already know the need to embrace experts and adapt to survive in a changing market, it’s now about making the investment to do so and implement the new experience-centric playbook.”