The Great Retail Failure: over 1/3rd feel unvalued after they part with their cash
A new report from international payment solutions company Valitor, found that retailers are failing customers when it comes to the after payment experience. This is because shoppers do not expect the retail experience to end once they have parted with their cash; in fact, 54 per cent expect at least a basic level of care following a payment. However, retailers are failing to deliver; in fact, the Valitor APEX (After Payment Emotional Experience) Report found that over a third of UK shoppers feel unvalued after making a purchase. With many customers prepared to boycott stores after a bad experience, improving the after payment experience must become a top priority for retailers.
Halldór Lúðvígsson, managing director, omnichannel solutions at Valitor explains, “The After Payment Emotional Experience (APEX) refers to the customer experience after a purchase has been made. Retailers who overlook this part of the shopper journey do so at their own peril; a poor APEX can see them haemorrhage customers, loyalty and sales. However, our research shows that retailers are not only failing to deliver a positive APEX, they are also fundamentally underestimating its importance. In an already challenging retail environment, those who want to thrive must place APEX at the heart of their customer experience strategy.”
Are returns the root of all evil?
The Valitor APEX Report also found that for many shoppers, APEX is synonymous with returns and refunds. More than a quarter of shoppers stated that an easy process for these is the most important factor when making a purchase. Here again, retailers are failing to deliver. When it comes to everyday essentials, 57 per cent of women claimed that returning a purchase is ‘rubbish’, as did almost half of male respondents. Half of shoppers also claimed the lack of free returns is the most annoying issue when dealing with a refund or exchange. Retailers must realise that a poor returns policy impacts more than their reputation. Over a quarter of shoppers claim that an ill-defined returns policy is the factor most likely to make them avoid a retailer. To avoid repelling customers, it’s important that processes in this area are clear and inline with consumer expectations.
The power of personalisation
While shoppers fed back that they wanted to have a long term relationship with retailers, they nonetheless want to be wooed and not bombarded with marketing. In fact, a third of shoppers feel that the irrelevant offers that they receive end up wasting their time and lead to them feeling annoyed. The personalisation that would solve this issue though needs to be done in the right way and for the right consumer or there is a risk that customers could be further pushed away. So while over a third (37 per cent) of Generation Z consumers would ‘love it’ if a retailer kept their data and personalised their service, it drops to less than one in ten of consumers aged 66 and over. More worryingly still, Generation Z consumers are 61 percent more likely to take some form of action to actively influence others after a negative experience, such as posting on social channels.
Daniel Whytock, co-founder and CEO of Down Your High Street added, “when delivering a great customer experience, the more data, information and insights you have the better! The retailers that we see succeeding are those who know their customers and develop a meaningful relationship with them based on this data.”
With APEX affecting areas such as returns, refunds, target marketing and promotions, it is vital that retailers do not dismiss its importance. Get it right and a good APEX will lead a customer back to the pre and during payment stages of their journey, due to the cyclical nature of the customer experience. Ultimately, the future of retail will be won or lost in the post-payment experience. Get it wrong and there is a serious risk that marketing efforts will be wasted. For example, the research found that 47 percent of consumers are less likely to pay attention to marketing communications after a bad experience. Retailers are therefore running the risk of undermining their hard work in attracting customers by not following through in establishing long term, meaningful trust and loyalty with their customers.
“Interestingly the research found that 52 per cent of consumers enjoy the shopping experience up until the aftercare process. For retailers to get ahead of the competition, it is time to acknowledge APEX, improve it and use the data that is generated during a payment to improve the customer experience. Get this right and a virtuous circle is created for the customer journey, that benefits retailers and consumers alike,” said Halldór. “However, while the research highlighted failings in APEX, it is not all bad news for retailers. In fact, they clearly know how important first impressions are with shoppers. This now needs to be translated into the rest of the shopping experience.”