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Jan 8, 2024

Gap widens between expectations and experience

The gap between shopper demands and the current retail offering continues to widen, says research from IBM Institute for Business Value. The study, ‘Revolutionize retail with AI everywhere: Customers won't wait,’ says only nine percent of consumers are content with in-store experiences despite 73 percent preferring to shop in physical stores, and 14 percent are content with online shopping. This provides many opportunities for retailers to step up and deliver.

IBM says technology could play an important role in enhancing the overall shopping experience, with over half of the respondents indicating they are eager for AI enhancements like virtual assistants (55 percent) and AI applications (59 percent) as they shop. Influenced by inflation, six in 10 consumers also say inflation has impacted how they shop, with 62 percent saying that price is a top reason they switch stores or brands.

Fort the in-store experience, consumers want greater variety of products available (37 percent), more information about products (26 percent), and faster checkout (26 percent) in stores. Most consumers (65 percent) are supplementing their in-store experience by using mobile apps while shopping – demonstrating a trend toward a digitally integrated in-store experience.

For online retail, two-thirds of consumers discover new products via the web, yet many have expressed dissatisfaction with their online shopping journey, citing challenges finding the products they want (36 percent), not enough information about products (33 percent), and a cumbersome return process (33 percent). 

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