One recent global survey shows a possible trust gap due to insufficient digital transformation and customer experience management.

In a June 2021 survey of over 5,000 shoppers, store associates and retail decision-makers globally to gauge the opinions and expectations of today’s shoppers, a trust gap between shoppers and retailers has surfaced among the respondents.

While 55% of retail respondents believed they were completely trusted to fulfill online orders as promised, only 38% of shoppers in the survey indicated complete trust in retailers.

Also, 51% of retail associates surveyed were wary of their employers’ ability to deliver or fulfill customers’ online/mobile orders as expected. 

Other findings

About 73% of respondents wanted to get in and out of stores quickly, while 65% were still worried about exposure to others. Compared to 2020, there was a reduction in respondents trusting retailers to adhere to health and safety mandates or protocols in stores. Furthermore:

  • 73% of respondents would prefer to have items delivered to them rather than pick up orders at the store or other location.
  • 77% of respondents indicated they had placed a mobile order, with over half of ‘boomers’ taking advantage of mobile commerce (m-commerce) options.
  • 35% of respondent boomers indicated they had used mobile apps for grocery or food delivery specifically.
  • 50% of shoppers in the survey were also researching product pricing online before they left home; less than 33% were checking store inventory before leaving home, compared to 19% in 2019.
  • About 70% of respondents confirmed they had recently left stores without all the items they wanted, with nearly half citing stock outage as the reason for not making an in-store purchase.
  • 58% of shoppers in the survey said it was faster to look up information on their smartphones than ask associates for help, and 64% of store associates in the survey agreed.
  • Around 25% of surveyed shoppers had placed click-and-collect m-commerce orders while out shopping, with some even completing mobile orders for home delivery.
  • 84% of retail decision-makers in the survey knew this ‘do-it-yourself’ trend was happening, and were taking a closer look at how technology can be utilized to meet customers’ expectations and save sales.
  • Around 60% of shoppers in the survey indicated they would be willing to purchase out-of-stock items before leaving the store if they could pick those items up at another one of the retailer’s nearby stores or the items could be shipped to their homes.
  • Around three-quarters of decision-makers in the survey indicated that increasing the efficiency of online order processing and fulfillment was a priority. Nearly 90% of them confirmed their firm was looking at ways to improve in-store pick and pack as well as warehouse fulfillment.
  • Around 33% of decision-makers in the survey were converting store space into designated pickup and returns locations to divert traffic away from a central customer service desk.
  • 70% of store associates in the survey viewed their employers more positively when they were provided with technology. Around 80% indicated they could provide a better customer experience if they had mobile computers and barcode scanners in hand. 

According to Christanto Suryadarma, Sales Vice President (SEA), Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific, which commissioned the yearly survey: “The ongoing pandemic has resulted in an exponential rise in demand for click-and-collect and home delivery options, especially as retailers begin to add new fulfillment options and incentivize m-commerce transactions. To adapt to these changes in consumer behavior, many retailers have adjusted their processes and relooked at their perspectives on the importance of technology.”

As for narrowing the trust gap, retail decision-makers are increasingly embracing solutions that elevate the contributions of front-line staff and improve how inventory is planned and executed in stores and the broader supply chain.