January 05, 2017 | Randy Kish

Recent Walmart TV commercial shows just how far customer expectations have evolved


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A version of this article was originally published on LinkedIn.

A breakdown of how many customers use a mobile device within a physical store while shopping, broken down by generation. Want more insights like this? Download the new 2016 ForeSee Experience Index (Retail Edition) report now.

The way consumers shopped during the holidays in 2016 didn’t change drastically from the previous year. In 2015, 75% of people admitted to using a mobile device while at a physical store, which is similar to the findings in the new 2016 ForeSee Experience Index. The retail industry has taken notice, but has been slow to respond to align with what customers now expect. However, this year might mark a major change in that assessment.

A recent holiday TV commercial from Walmart promoted mobile shopping as quick remedy to a forgotten present for a loved one, as you’ll notice from the video embedded below. The storyline lacks acronyms like “BOPIS” (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) and omits the complexity of an in-store fulfillment process. In fact, there’s nary a word of dialog — just the tune “Don’t You Forget About Me” and facial expressions progressing from anxiety to relief.

The strategic commercial aired just before Christmas and right after Amazon’s holiday shipping deadlines had ended. Only a chain with brick and mortar storefronts could attempt to deliver on this promise and exploit this advantage. The ad exemplified what we as consumers now expect, and how far we’ve come since the bad press of the 2015 holiday season. In fact, ForeSee’s 2016 FXI shows that 60% of consumers even want Amazon to open physical stores.

Behind the simplistic scenario lies complex execution that impacts customer experience. This includes search and navigation to locate the item, seeing if it’s available in a nearby store, and the ease of selecting a pickup location. There’s no mention of pickup location directions, store associate knowledge, and time involved; all critical to repeat usage, recommendations, and brand preference.

Brick and mortar retailers that aren’t offering this type of service — which demands a seamless experience — will fail to gain brand loyalty. The same goes for Walmart, who set a high bar for itself with the promise made in its holiday shopping commercial. It’s us consumers who will decide: we know if it worked, if we’ll use it again, and if we’ll recommend it to a friend.

Transactional data tells half of the story. Those retailers that measure the experience are best positioned to ensure their success. So how did you stack up to the CX winners and losers this holiday season?

Attending the upcoming NRF BIG Show in NYC? Schedule a time to meet with ForeSee at Booth #1543 for a briefing on the top holiday shopping CX insights uncovered in the annual ForeSee Experience Index (FXI). The FXI is the definitive study of mobile, web, and in-store customer experiences with top retail brands in the U.S. and U.K.

Categories: Retail

About the Author

Randy Kish is a Customer Experience Specialist and Retail Innovation Advocate at ForeSee. He joined the company in 2011, bringing over 20 years of retail experience that started on the selling floor at Nordstrom. Randy crossed over to the software side of the retail industry in 1993 with a primary focus on store operations and retail analytics. A native San Diegan, Randy earned his BA in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and MBA in Finance from San Diego State University.

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