We’ve all been there — long checkout lines, haggling with a customer service rep over a return, or even having a website crash by clicking “place order.”
New research from Klarna, a Swedish firm that offers interest-free installment payments among other payment solutions, suggests shoppers will only tolerate such aggravations for so long.
Through a survey of 2,065 shoppers conducted in May and June, Klarna found 55 percent of consumers say one bad retail experience would stop them from returning to a brand. Nearly 30 percent of consumers said they don’t find shopping as fun as it used to be.
Even more telling, 36 percent of respondents said they feel that what shoppers have gained in convenience, they’ve lost in the overall experience.
Of course, retailers across all channels have made efforts to improve the shopping experience, from offering more ready-to-eat items and other innovative merchandising solutions, to implementing in-store pickup and at-home delivery.
Klarna also noted 39 percent of the 250 retailers surveyed realize shopper loyalty isn’t just driven by rewards programs. Nearly 70 percent understand they have to do more to retain customers, but just over a third of retailers are struggling to keep up with changing consumer expectations because of outdated technology and a short-term emphasis on sales.
What can retailers do to capture consumers? Nearly half of survey respondents said they desire brand values they can support. This is particularly true for Millennial and Gen Z consumers, who put more weight into a brand’s image than their predecessors.
Furthermore, 36 percent of consumers want flexible payment options, while 28 percent of survey respondents said the want — maybe not surprisingly — human engagement. Technology offers convenience, but it can be isolating.
For brick-and-mortar retail, maintaining a loyal customer base requires balancing strong in-store experiences with convenient, efficient online shopping. Online-only retailers can gain an edge by offering flexible payment options and clearly-defined brand values.
Either way, creative thinking and adaptability will help retailers maintain valued customers — and gain new ones — in the ever-evolving retail landscape.