SYDNEY, Nov. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Manhattan Associates Inc. (NASDAQ: MANH) has released the findings of a consumer research study, highlighting a strong preference among shoppers for meaningful in-store interactions. Contrary to popular belief, the results also indicate a more profound sense of retail loyalty than previously assumed.
The study, encompassing responses from 500 consumers across Australia and New Zealand, revealed that while technology is ever-present in the today’s shopper landscape, consumers prefer human interaction. In a checkout environment, 53% of shoppers wanted human assisted purchasing, compared with only 24% who preferred the option of self-checkout.
“It’s not about avoiding technology, but about leveraging it to enhance human connections,” observed Raghav Sibal, Managing Director of Manhattan Associates in Australia & New Zealand. “The future of retail is not an either-or between online and in-person; it’s a sophisticated ecosystem that prioritises customer relationships at every touchpoint and empowers retail assistants to meet instore customer requirements.”
When interacting with retail assistants, 63% of consumers said that they wanted retail assistants to have knowledge about the product that they were interested in buying and 19% said that they wanted them to be able to help demonstrate or physically show a product to them.
While many perceive loyalty to be a dying concept in the retail sector, this isn’t the case. When faced with an out-of-stock situation in a retail store, research shows that only 18% of shoppers believed they would try and find the same product in another store. Interestingly, a large majority (67%) of consumers display loyalty; they’d either inquire with store associates about its availability at a nearby location, express willingness to explore similar brands within the same store, or opt to order the product for in-store pick-up or home delivery.
“The fact that data revealed most shoppers’ don’t immediately flock to competitors when faced with out-of-stock scenarios demonstrates that consumer loyalty still exists. Today, brand loyalty is built on both trust and convenience. It’s the ability of in-store staff to offer immediate, informed solutions when stock is not available – not only resolving the immediate concern but also strengthening the consumer’s trust in the brand,” said Sibal.
Through the pandemic, where supply chain issues were prevalent and goods often delayed, consumers identified delivery times as a key consideration when making a purchase. Yet, in today’s increasingly complex economic landscape, research indicates that delivery costs have surpassed delivery times as the more pressing concern.
“Delivery cost takes precedence over speed today, with 73% of shoppers citing delivery cost as a key consideration when making a purchase. In contrast, only a minority now view delivery times as crucial. This transition marks a discernible shift in consumer priorities, highlighting their heightened price sensitivity and search for value amid financial constraints,” said Sibal.
The lines between online and retail are increasingly blurred in the eyes of the consumer, where even instore purchases are assisted through online channels. In preparation for shopping trips, consumers are often engaging in online research, seeking the best offers (51%), verifying in-stock products (49%), and learning more about items before purchasing (46%). This behavior suggests that while the final transaction may occur in-store, the customer journey often begins online, emphasising the need for retailers to seamlessly integrate their online and offline presence.
“The modern consumer is information-savvy, utilising digital channels to inform their in-store shopping,” says Sibal. “This reflects the importance of accurate stock inventory; our study shows that consumers frequently check product availability online before stepping in-store. Retailers must maintain precise inventory data to meet this informed customer halfway, ensuring that the journey from online research to in-store purchase is seamless and reliable.”
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About Manhattan Associates
Manhattan Associates is a technology leader in supply chain and omnichannel commerce. We unite information across the enterprise, converging front-end sales with back-end supply chain execution. Our software, platform technology and unmatched experience help drive both top-line growth and bottom-line profitability for our customers.
Manhattan Associates designs, builds and delivers leading edge cloud and on-premises solutions so that across the store, through your network or from your fulfillment center, you are ready to reap the rewards of the omnichannel marketplace. For more information, please visit www.manh.com.