Four important areas all retailers should focus on in 2024

Manhattan Associates is a Business Reporter client.

The 2024 European Retail Benchmark highlights unified commerce, emphasizing personalized experiences, simplified payment, reliable fulfillment and exceptional customer service.

The challenges facing European retailers have always been complicated, requiring a tailored approach to strategies that adapt to the unique tastes and cultural nuances within each country, while balancing the diverse economic contexts and priorities of their markets.

Unified Commerce enables retailers to operate across diverse retail landscapes, connecting diverse consumer preferences with integrated shopping experiences in a way that creates a continuous, seamless customer journey and goes far beyond simply selling products.

With global e-commerce sales expected to reach $6.3 trillion this year, according to a recent study by buyManhattan's 2024 findings and learnings European landmark will help retailers take advantage of this huge opportunity and provide them with a roadmap to help them develop and accelerate the new in-store capabilities that will be key to success in 2024 and beyond.

The importance of search and discovery for consumers

European retail thrives by integrating digital options with physical stores, making search and discovery a key battleground for retailers.

Search and discovery refers to the set of retailer capabilities and experiences that help shoppers find the products and services most meaningful to their needs. To do this, a retailer must be able to create a personalized experience based on the buyer's intent.

Are they looking for a specific item that they urgently need? Are you exploring the brand for the first time and need to understand how it can fit into your lifestyle? Or maybe they are shopping for an occasion?

This category is important because there is a 37 percent higher conversion rate for shoppers who begin their interaction with a retailer with a product search, while 32 percent of shoppers will shop at another retailer if the product they want Is it sold out.

European 'leaders' in this segment have higher adoption rates than their peers in customer experience capabilities such as category-specific filters, product recommendations, stock availability notifications, real-time inventory visibility and rating information and product supply.

However, adoption of some high-profile capabilities, such as AR and VR tools, recommendations based on past purchases, and carbon footprint information, remains relatively low, indicating there is plenty of room for development even among the majors. specialized retailers in Europe.

Know the shopper: A retailer can tailor a customer's needs to the type of shopping experience they are looking for. (Manhattan Associates)

Prioritize cart repair and checkout experiences

Cart and checkout refer to the retailer's set of capabilities and experiences that help shoppers make a positive decision at the most critical point of conversion, or even abandonment.

Today's modern shopping trips are marked by a staccato, start-stop nature. Retailers must provide consumers with seamless continuity as they move between physical and digital spaces, especially between shopping carts and wish lists, so that shoppers don't have to repeat stages more than once.

This segment should be important to retailers, as benchmark results suggest that more than half (51 percent) of shoppers say checkout is the 'Number 1' area retailers should focus on. focus if they want to improve the in-store experience. More than a third (37 percent) said they would abandon their cart if they had to re-enter payment or delivery details more than once, and 35 percent said they would also abandon a shopping cart if the checkout process took a while too much. long.

European 'leaders' in this segment have a higher adoption rate of customer experience capabilities such as promotional code visibility in the shopping cart, expedited checkout for guests, and payment options including gift cards and monthly installments. However, key gaps remain and adoption of high-impact capabilities such as paying through closed-loop wallets, using clickable promotional codes, and redeeming loyalty points for payments remains a challenge. low.

Delivering on brand promises is important

Promise and delivery was the third area the benchmark looked at. It refers to the retailer's set of capabilities and experiences related to offering shoppers the choice, confidence and clarity of how and when they can receive their orders.

If retailers can help shoppers with important information related to ordering and delivery throughout the purchasing process, they increase their likelihood of conversion.

“What is the first time I can get this item and how? Can I order one item for in-store pickup and another for home delivery as part of the same order? Can a store associate help me place a backorder for a currently out-of-stock item in my preferred color or size? Or could I modify my order after purchase because I have changed my mind?

These are all scenarios that are probably familiar to many of us. However, 73 percent of shoppers value same-business-day delivery, 59 percent prefer to use a subscription-based model to receive their essential items, and 68 percent want self-service options that allow them to edit orders after placing orders. perform them. like these really matter.

'Leaders' in Europe demonstrate a higher adoption rate of customer experience capabilities such as multiple delivery options such as BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store), order tracking and real-time order updates, and self-service options . However, split deliveries, the ability to compare delivery dates before payment and to modify orders after purchase, remain low.

A tale of two extremes: buyers want their experiences to be personalized but they also want efficiency (Manhattan Associates)

A double-edged sword: customer service and support

Shoppers are pushing retailers to two extremes when it comes to service and support. First, they say, “Give me service options that don't interrupt the flow of my day,” while second, they say, “Make me feel special through high-level, personalized services.”

Specialty retailers can balance both by using digital tools to improve service efficiency and the human empathy of their store associates and call centers to provide authenticity and trust.

Only a third of shoppers said retailers offer them a personalized shopping experience. Just over half (54 percent) said they found refund and return processes time-consuming, while almost two-thirds (65 percent) said they preferred 24/7 customer support availability of the week.

'Leaders' in this segment exhibited high levels of adoption in areas such as email, call or live chat support, wish list creation and management, in-store self-checkout, and returns assistance. However, support via text or social media, subscription maintenance, and a store associate's ability to view a customer's purchase history remain low.

Retailers adopt a Unified Commerce This approach can go beyond simply selling products, to a place where they can create experiences that resonate across borders: generating up to three times more revenue opportunities and creating the kind of brand loyalty every retailer covets.

View the full benchmark report here.

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