CX Over Profit & Revenue for Retailers; Page Load Speeds Hurting Retailers

RetailTechNews’ weekly roundup brings you up-to-date research findings from around the world. In this week’s edition: CX Over Profit & Revenue for Retailers; Page Load Speeds Hurting Retailers; and APAC Shopping in Europe Weakens.

CX Over Profit & Revenue for Retailers

Four-in-five (81%) retailers are putting customer experience above profit and revenue, according to a report from Engage Hub.

Board-level engagement with customer experience metrics in retail is very high (90%), as is considering the impact of CX on overall business metrics (88%). Poor employee engagement (37%) and lack of investment in new systems (37%) are the two main barriers to CX improvement in retail. The move to a ‘self-serve’ system for routine customer experience enquiries is a net priority for 93% of retailers.

The report shows that customer experience is a top business objective for 47% of retailers (more than revenue growth at 43%) and a major business objective for 17% of retailers. Cost reduction is the least important, with 27% of retailers considering it a top business objective. Meanwhile, over three-quarters (77%) of retailers have increased their budget for initiatives dedicated to improving the customer experience.

More than half (53%) of retailers are currently in the process of creating a centralised team responsible for the overall customer experience, and nearly a quarter more (23%) plan on doing so in the next two years.

To measure CX, retailers are using:

– Mystery shopping (53%)

– Problem resolution time (50%)

– Inbound call / complaints level (47%)

Page Load Speeds Hurting Retailers

The UK’s top retailers are risking seasonal sales through failure to improve their website load speeds over the past 12 months, according to a report by Visualsoft.

The study found that 62% of retail websites rated as ‘poor’ – taking longer than nine seconds to load on 3G – in comparison to 54% of sites that rated poor in 2017.

A further 16% of retailers’ sites took 15 seconds or longer to load. This figure has worsened by 4% versus the same time last year. Google estimates that these e-tailers will be losing a minimum of 32% of all potential visitors through load time alone.

Only 1% of the retailers tested were marked ‘excellent’ – taking under four seconds to load and expected to experience low levels of potential visitor loss. This is also a worse performance than 2017, when 2% of retailers rated as excellent.

The figures run contrary to the growing importance of mobile in driving seasonal revenues. Statistics show that Black Friday weekend was the biggest ever for traffic and sales made via mobile; and the trend is only set to continue in the lead-up to Christmas.

Dean Benson, Visualsoft’s CEO, commented: “Page load speed is one of the biggest contributors to customer frustration, basket abandonment, and lost sales, with almost 47% of customers expecting a site to load in less than two seconds. However, many companies are still unwittingly sacrificing load speeds as they grow their online stores.”

APAC Shopping in Europe Weakens

Shopping activity among APAC visitors to Europe weakened in the third quarter, shows ‘The Planet Shopper Index’, by Planet.

The region as a whole showed a 5% fall in average score for spend. Currency was a key driver of this fall, with many of the region’s major economies, including China, experiencing a weakening of international purchasing power as a result.

More broadly, international shopper activity across the European retail market slowed marginally in the third quarter, as currency pressures hampered emerging market consumers’ spending. The Q3 median score of 96 represented a four-point decline on Q2.

Top of the table was China, with an index score that was nearly 3x the score of second-placed United States. Despite only having the fourth-highest average transaction value (ATV), ninth-lowest inflation rate, and suffering a significant weakening of its currency, the sheer volume of Chinese shoppers’ spending placed it comfortably at the top of the table.

Chinese tourists spend more abroad than any other nation, parting with over USD$260bn (£206.96bn) worldwide in 2016 – more than double the expenditure of second-placed United States. China’s annual Golden Week holiday proved to be a case in point of this, as tax-free sales to Chinese shoppers during the holiday were up by 5.8%, compared with last year.

Hong Kong’s score of 142 marked a 21-point decline on the previous quarter – the biggest fall of any market’s index score this quarter – while Malaysia’s 88-point score marked a 17-point fall.

Hong Kong’s economic growth slowed from an unexpectedly high 4.6% year-on-year expansion in Q1 to a slower 3.5% in Q2. Many analysts and commentators expect ongoing trade disputes between China and the United States to have a negative impact on the heavily trade-reliant financial hub of Hong Kong.