Retailers Wasting Time on Competitor Tracking; Personalising Holiday Booking

RetailTechNews’ weekly roundup brings you up-to-date research findings from around the world. In this week’s edition: Retailers Wasting Time on Competitor Tracking; Personalising Holiday Booking; and Declining CX Hurting UK Retailers.

Retailers Wasting Time on Competitor Tracking

UK retailers are wasting almost two million hours every working week due to ineffective competitor price-checking processes, according to a research report by Omnia Retail.

The reports shows that companies are needlessly spending an average of 10 hours per week on manually checking and benchmarking their competitor’s prices, amounting to almost 1.97 million hours, or 246,000 lost working days across the sector.

More than half (55%) of retailers said they dedicate at least 1-10 hours per week to monitoring market pricing; with 24% of retailers saying they commit 11-25 hours to the practice on a weekly basis. One-in-10 brands surveyed said that they spend around 26-50 hours per working week on the practice; the equivalent of one full-time salary – while 1% said they spend more than 50 hours. Despite this, 13% of retailers say they don’t spend enough time price-checking competitors.

Moreover, despite 57% of retailers saying they complete competitor price checks on a weekly basis, only 17% felt that the practice has helped them achieve their goals. This may be due to the fact that they are using the data ineffectively, a notion supported by the fact that only 48% of retailers use competitor price research as a reason to increase or cut their prices.

Personalising Holiday Booking

A large majority (85%) of British consumers say they would be open to a travel company personalising their holiday suggestions, with almost a third of those (26%) stating they need “all the help they can get” to choose where to holiday. This is according to research by Monetate

Nearly half (47%) of UK consumers say they want a clear tailored and personalised booking experience when looking for a holiday. This is their second most important concern, behind finding discount vouchers and offers (55%), showing how price-conscious consumers are currently. Feedback from previous travellers and reviews is also important to 41% and is especially key to converting the over-65s market.

Focusing on personalisation is not just a move travel companies should take to improve the customer experience – 53% of those surveyed say they would be willing to pay more to have a personalised holiday booking experience. The personalised travel booking offerings UK consumers would like to see are personalised flights based on location, recommendations on the type of hotel offered, suggested activities, and a specific ‘made-for-one’ package.

Over half (54%) will be using travel agents such as Booking.com or Lastminute.com, however there is still an appetite for going to the source website, with 33% using hotel or resort websites, and 29% using airline websites directly.

Declining CX Hurting UK Retailers

Almost one-in-five (19%) retailers fail to optimise their onsite search, shows a study by Visualsoft. Retailers are failing to take advantage of functions such as autocomplete, well-targeted product suggestions, or relevant recommendations. Including these features can double a store’s conversion levels, highlighting a clear missed opportunity.

Moreover, only 37% of retailers make use of live chat or virtual assistant services – a figure which has dropped by 2% in the past 12 months.

The study also shows that more than a third (35%) of online shopping basket abandonment is due to customers being asked to create a customer account prior to purchase. However, 67% of retailers analysed forced shoppers to follow this step. This extra hurdle alone could be costing retailers dearly in missed sales.

Retailers also performed poorly in terms of ease of purchase. The analysis found that more than 1-in-10 e-retailers have eight or more steps before purchase – a figure which is likely to deter many customers from spending.