Communication through new channels, effortless returns, and a combination of AI and human support all play a role in building trust with shoppers, Narvar survey finds.
In the age of digital commerce and infinite choice, shoppers expect more high-touch retail experiences, according to a report published by Narvar, the post-purchase experience leader. The report, “Connecting with Shoppers in the Age of Choice,” analyzes responses from 1,543 U.S. online shoppers, evaluating the ways customers prefer to communicate with their favorite brands throughout the shopping journey.
The boundary between online and offline is blurring as consumers integrate shopping experiences into their everyday lives. Sixteen percent of American adults – 39 million – now own a smart speaker like a Google Home or Amazon Echo. Meanwhile, the retail industry is expected to invest 422 million dollars in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) over the next four years.
The Narvar study found that 41 percent of consumers currently shop or plan to shop using the voice assistant on their phone, 31 percent via voice-controlled device, and 21 percent via AR or VR technology on a smartphone. Chatbot use, meanwhile, is nascent but growing: 29 percent of consumers use or plan to use chatbots to shop online.
As people get accustomed to shopping using these technologies, they are using these channels for more than researching products. The study found that 30 percent of shoppers use voice to track their packages — nearly as many as the 36 percent who use it to add items to their shopping list.
As shopping behaviors evolve, so are consumers’ expectations for proactive updates from retailers. Eighty-three percent of shoppers say they expect regular communication about their purchases, while just eight percent say they get too many notifications.
“To deliver customer care at its highest level, brands will need to anticipate customers’ wants and needs, using technologies like voice and chatbots to communicate with shoppers at every point of their journey,” said Amit Sharma, Founder & CEO of Narvar. “The retailers that succeed in building loyalty with shoppers will be those that connect with people personally and communicate proactively.”