At the end of October we surveyed 2,000 US consumers to better understand how Retail Choreography software solutions are being implemented by retailers right now, and how they could help to counter the customer health and experience challenges posed by the pandemic to drive more footfall to stores and retain customers once inside.
We surveyed consumers on the usefulness and benefits of:
- Host managed waiting experiences – hosts that greet customers entering a store and use tablets to give them queue and wait time information.
- Virtual wait line systems – that enable customers to join a virtual lines via their mobile phones or a host with a tablet and to receive SMS and smartphone updates while they wait for service.
- In-store appointments – that enable customers to schedule times to visit stores and to receive service.
- Virtual appointments – that enable customers to schedule time to speak with a brand representative online from the comfort of their own home.
- Contactless online order collection experiences – that enable customers to collect orders placed online from outside of the store.
What are Retail Choreography software solutions?
Just like a dance choreographer constructs powerful and captivating dance routines through carefully planning and controlling the movement of their dancers across novel and exciting stage environments…
Retail Choreography software solutions enable retailers to construct captivating omni-channel retail offerings, through better planning and controlling or “choreographing” their customers and brand representatives to ensure seamless customer flow and powerful brand interactions.
Retail Choreography solutions focus on helping retailers to achieve this through holistically managing their customer experience, operations and data.
The Retail Choreography solutions focused on in this survey:
Virtual wait line systems: to manage store capacity and to enable customers to wait virtually using their phone or through a host with a tablet.
Appointment scheduling software: to enable customers to schedule store visits and in-person service or virtual service 24/7 from any channel.
Contactless Order Pickup Check-in: to enable customers with online orders to check-in when they arrive at store so that store teams bring their order to them outside of the store.
On average across different types of stores, customers rated the usefulness of these different Retail Choreography solutions in the following order:
1.Virtual appointments (45%)
2.Virtual wait line systems / virtual queuing systems (20%)
3.Contactless pickup (20%)
4.In-store appointments (18%)
5.Hosts with tablet (18%)
Store types consumers expect Retail Choreography solutions in
Our survey found that, during and likely beyond the pandemic, customers would find all the Retail Choreography solutions in question useful within every type of retail store. The priority and extent to which each solution was found useful varied based on the type of retail store, for example:
- Grocery stores, shopping malls, fashion stores and shoe stores would most benefit by using contactless pickup, followed by virtual appointments, virtual wait line systems, hosts with tablets and store appointments.
- Pharmacies, luxury stores and mum/children/toy stores would most benefit from virtual appointments, followed by virtual wait line systems, contactless collection, hosts with tablets and then store appointments.
- Jewelry, lingerie, electronics, department, pet, sportswear, health food and cycle stores would most benefit from offering virtual appointments followed by contactless collection, wait line systems, hosts with tablets and in-store appointments.
- DIY, makeup and skincare, shoe, phone, homeware, book and garden center stores would benefit most by offering virtual appointments followed by contactless pickup, virtual wait line software, then in-store appointments and hosts with tablets.
- For stores with higher priced items including car dealerships, travel stores, opticians, estate agencies, banks and building societies, customers would like to find virtual appointments, followed by store appointments, virtual wait line software, hosts with tablets and lastly contactless collections.
Younger generations demand Retail Choreography solutions from brands
The survey responses also indicate that any retailers who use any of these five solutions to choreograph their customers’ experience stand to gain significantly through improved revenues and brand relationships across channels. The solutions would positively impact consumers’ interactions with retailers in one or more of the following ways:
- 46% would be more likely to buy something in-store and 47% would also be more likely to shop with the retailer online – indicating that using digital tools to choreograph their customer experience will enable any retailer to increase their overall omni-channel revenues with up to half of customers engaging with these services.
- 50% would be more likely to visit the retailer in the first place – showing all the solutions can help retailers to drive and retain store foot traffic.
- 53% would be more likely to return again and 51% would be more likely to tell their friends about the retailer – indicating that all the solutions can help retailers to improve customer loyalty and advocacy amongst more than half of their customers to ultimately attract more customers to their brand.
- 54% would feel safer and happier and 54% would think better of the retailer – demonstrating that all the solutions can help brands to improve their relationships and relevance amongst customers.
- 48% would be more likely to choose the retailer over their competitors – demonstrating that Retail Choreography solutions can hugely help brands to improve their brand relevance and to win out against competitors.
The most attractive benefits of Retail Choreography solutions
When viewing all generational responses as to how they felt each individual Retail Choreography solution would positively impact their interaction with a retailer, we found:
- Customers were most likely to be driven to purchase in a store as a result of a retailer’s use of contactless collections, followed closely by in-store appointments, virtual wait line systems, a host managed waiting experience and then virtual appointments.
- Shoppers state that all solutions would increase their likelihood of purchasing with a retailer online, with contactless collections coming out on top and all other solutions equally impacting customer propensity to shop with the retailer online for 40%-50% of customers.
- Shoppers would be most likely to visit a retailer if the retailer had store appointments, followed by wait line systems, contactless pickup, customer hosts and virtual appointments.
- Shoppers felt that they would feel safer and happier with all solutions in the order of: contactless collections, store appointments, virtual wait lines, a host managed waiting experience, and then virtual appointments.
- Shoppers would be more likely to choose a retailer over their competitors and to have an improved overall perception of a retailer a result of them offering contactless collections followed by virtual wait lines, store appointments, host managed waiting experience and, thereafter, virtual appointments.
These insights indicate that every retailer could significantly improve their revenues and brand relationships by using digital tools to choreograph their customer experience during the pandemic and even beyond.
What tools do different generations of consumers care about most?
Overall, younger generations are more likely than Baby Boomers to find it useful if retailers use digital tools to choreograph their experience. Comparing how these five different systems positively impact the behaviors of Millennial and GenZ customers versus Baby Boomers shows that:
Retail Choreography tools are 15% more likely to have a positive impact on GenZ and Millennial customer behaviors with a brand, with 82% of GenZ and 84% of Millennial customers reporting at least one positive benefit of using the software, compared to 72% of Baby Boomers.
All this confirms what we all instinctively know to be true – Millennial and GenZ customers want retailers to use digital tools to improve their experience, and they are willing to pay and engage with brands more for the privilege.
With these younger generations ever increasing in spending power, these insights suggest that retailers who use such digital tools to choreograph and improve their customers’ experience stand to win through greater immediate and long-term revenue generation and increased customer retention, acquisition and advocacy.