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How to Compete with Big Box Retailers

Posted on 6.03.2012

While most consumers won’t stop visiting big box retailers any time soon, a new study offers e-commerce merchants insights into why these shopping destinations are so popular, as well as what turns customers off. 

The Consumer Insights Panel study from customer experience management solutions provider Empathica Inc. reveals that 93 percent of U.S. consumers visit a big box retailer every month. The findings show that 61 percent of consumers claim that the most important factor in choosing a big box retailer is price, followed by location convenience (12%) and a wide selection of products (10%).

The survey also shows that 71 percent of customers claim to prefer big box retailers that offer a “one-stop” shopping experience, so that all essential products are at one store.

And although these one-stop shopping destinations are the lucky recipients of a steady stream of consumers, two in five customers report that their shopping experience does not feel personalized. Consumers also claim to be disappointed with the customer service they receive at big box retailers. According to the study, one in five respondents report that employees do not provide accurate answers to questions in their areas of expertise, and only 39 percent of customers believe employees listen when a customer approaches them with a question.

So aside from maintaining competitive prices and a vast product selection, online retailers should consider focusing on these two areas – personalization and customer service – in order to attract more consumers to their websites. By offering features like recommended products and loyalty programs, online merchants can grow their loyal customer base while increasing the probability of converting customers into a brand advocates.

Additionally, Web retailers can attract and satisfy site visitors by offering excellent customer service options such as live chat, a thorough FAQ page and quick responses to inquiries via email and social media.

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