CHICAGO, May 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report by A.T. Kearney "Retail Operations: People Are Still the Best Investment: 2016 Achieving Excellence in Retail Operations (AERO)" study finds that while technology is the number one retail investment today, there is limited visibility on the returns on investment. While many retailers are focused on technology investments and omnichannel integrations, store associates are often overlooked as crucial conduits for improved store performance.
The study also points to a misalignment between consumer expectations and retailer offerings, with retailers investing in services that customers may not want, need or expect, particularly in terms of fulfillment, in-store technology and social engagement.
Joel Alden, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study noted, "Gone are the days when a store's success was based solely on the revenue generated within the four walls. Retailers need to fundamentally rethink how their associates engage with customers."
Another key finding from the report was that although there is a race among retailers to near immediate shipping times – from next-day to same-day to one-hour shipping, three-quarters of consumers surveyed say they merely expect two days or more for shipping. Consumers are more interested in getting their products when they were told they would rather than getting the product immediately.
Adam Pressman A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study points out, "The missed opportunity is when a retailer's offering and the investments needed to produce it are far separated from customer expectations. What consumers value should underpin omnichannel investments in store operations."
The study found that more than 60 percent of retailers continue to focus on mining social media to generate value, while two-thirds of consumers say they are not engaging with retailers on social media at all. For those that do, the primary reason is to get a coupon or a discount. When asked to rank a number of touch points with retailers, consumers in the survey ranked current social media offerings the least valuable out of 13 listed. Store location, product selection, and store cleanliness topped the list. Retailers need to focus on the appropriate interaction through social media while continuing to look for and evaluate the efficacy of interactions to find the right connections.
Ryan Fisher, A.T. Kearney principal and co-author of the report said, "The AERO findings show that the real heroes of store operations are in-store associates, and they are often being overlooked. Customers say that experience and service have the greatest impact on store productivity, yet we consistently find that store associates get little investment focus."
For a copy of the report, please go to www.atkearney.com/consumer-products-retail/achieving-excellence-in-retail-operations.
About the Study
A.T. Kearney's Achieving Excellence in Retail Operations (AERO) study provides insights into how retailers around the globe can improve their operations. This year's study captures over 100 responses from senior retail executive across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, providing a detailed perspective of emerging global best practices in store operations. The study covers multiple sectors, including apparel, health and personal care, mass-market and hypermarket, electronics, food and grocery, and cash and carry.
In addition to the retailer perspective, this year's study brings in the view of the consumer. Our consumer survey captures nearly 800 responses across demographic backgrounds, providing a clear view of the consumer's view of store operations. In the study, we compare and contrast the retailer perspective with the consumer perspective, identifying what is truly important in today's retail environment.
The study is based on A.T. Kearney's Store Operations Framework. This framework, which was also used to pioneer the 2010 study, evaluates operations across setting strategic direction, delivering core value, optimizing expenses, and driving lasting change.
About A.T. Kearney
A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world's foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit www.atkearney.com.
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SOURCE A.T. Kearney