SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

Aberdeen Group

December 08, 2009 12:15 ET

Leading Retailers Transform In-Store Experience to Expand Customer Appeal

Research Reveals the Impact of Positive In-Store Experience on Performance, Despite the Economy

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - December 8, 2009) - Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), surveyed 138 retailers (between October and November 2009) to reveal that the foremost business pressures prompting a renewed focus on in-store experience include dynamic nature of customer buying preferences due to current market uncertainties (40%), and growth in sales channel preferences (40%). The report, "The Automated and Connected Store: Next Generation Shopping Experience," shows that integration of web and in-store experiences, self-service, in-store workforce productivity, loyalty, and emergence of store-based mobile retailing tools can shape retail store revival in 2010.

Compared to 2008, retailers across sub-segments are compelled to revive the store experience due to rapid shifts in customer shopping preferences (value, price, size of spend, and frequency). These shifts have led to customer purchase in-action primarily in non-food retail segments. Customers deferred shelf-level buying, which in turn impacted revenue and gross margin return on inventory investment projections of retailers. "Today, customers want an integrated and more personalized shopping experience and stores will need to modify and reorganize the sales experience workflow in stores or risk high customer attrition," says Sahir Anand, Research Director, Retail, Hospitality, and CPG Research.

Traditional customer expectations in stores have undergone a major shift in areas such as:

--  Need for products or merchandise that can exceed both perceived and
    actual value or benefits
--  Access to deeper multi-channel product information and research by
    both first-time and long-time customers for differentiated product
    attributes and personalized offers
--  Desire for intuitive and effortless in-store sales and service has
    grown even as the seamlessness of digital shopping channels has improved

For appealing to the buying senses of customers, retailers need to consolidate and expand in some areas such as self-service, cross-channel order integration, continued annual point-of-service and security upgrades, clienteling, and mobility. "These steps can assist retailers to maintain a friendly and knowledgeable service delivery culture, high employee motivation, and in-store productivity in an unpredictable business environment. These are the imperatives for creating a customer-ready retail store environment in 2010," says Anand.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Epicor, NCR, and Microsoft. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit:

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About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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