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Swedish fintech firm Klarna has published a detailed report outlining a growing disconnect between what shoppers desire from omnichannel shopping experiences and what retailers believe they want.

Retailers misunderstand shoppers

  • The report, named ‘Owning omnichannel: winning at clicks and bricks,’ found that 75% of retailers believe their multichannel sales capabilities are up to the task – a sentiment entirely at odds with half of Klarna users, who complain of a lack of consistency between websites and stores.

  • The results serve as a wake-up call to over-complacent retailers amid findings that a single negative experience would deter 60% of shoppers from shopping with a brand again.

  • Of particular importance for the beleaguered physical retail sector are findings that a slim majority of Klarna users (51%) prefer to shop in-person to see and touch potential purchases, highlighting the folly of closing down in-store options entirely.

Omnichannel rush

  • The disparity is particularly concerning as 73% of retailers seek to increase their omnichannel strategies, upping spend by an average of 8.16%, despite fundamental misunderstandings that run the risks of misplaced investment.

  • With 89% of Klarna shoppers employing multiple channels to search and spend, it is clear that the trend is here to stay to meet consumer needs, with 88% of Klarna shoppers (v 45% of retailers) valuing the tactile qualities of the in-person purchase process.

Retailer misconceptions

  • Further misalignment is shown by the fact that 49% of shoppers state a preference for ‘showrooming’ (where they view a product before a later online purchase) v just 32% of retailers who value this approach.

  • Retailers also overstate the importance of sales assistants, with a scant 26% of shoppers welcoming their assistance as set against a belief among 36% of retailers that they add to the experience.

  • Ease of shopping where functions such as autofill reduce online sales friction is welcomed by 84% of Klarna shoppers, but valued by just 33% of retailers. Meanwhile, 45% of retailers champion one-click payments, while just 65% of Klarna shoppers cite this as the most important quality of online shopping.

In their own words

  • Alex Naughton, head of Klarna UK & Ireland, said: “... it’s promising to see that retailers recognize the importance of having a great omnichannel retail experience. But, if they’re to see a return on their omnichannel investment, they need to ensure they avoid any disconnect and fully understand shopper priorities. It’s clear in-store shopping is still incredibly important for consumers, so retailers should look at how they can make their stores a more experiential, cultural space that inspires shoppers.”

  • Howard Saunders, Retail Futurist, commented: “Lockdown reminded us exactly how much we need our local high streets, not just for access to ‘stuff’ but as a means of feeling directly connected to our communities. Retailers learned that they must embrace the ‘omnichannel’ world to give their ever-more-demanding customers a broader brand landscape alongside real-world, old fashioned hospitality. Humans are a social species and no economy-stopping pandemic will change that in a hurry.”

Not all is lost

  • The report isn’t all bad news with retailers on the right track in certain areas, with 49% offering the ability to check stock levels remotely – valued by 76% of shoppers – and a further 38% on track to introduce in-store stock inventories via website and app.

  • Of specific interest to Klarna, 74% of shoppers value flexible payment options, currently offered by just 50% of retailers, although a further 34% plan to introduce this within a year.