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The Consumer Experience: Consequences of a Compressed Innovation Cycle

The past 18 months have seen – in retailers and suppliers alike – a critical lack of best practices and an almost overwhelming number of alternate fulfillment solutions being rolled out in mass.

Consumers – established creatures of habit – are desperately clinging to known routines and becoming confused, frustrated, and fed up with the lack of clarity and confidence in their shopping journey.

From curbside pickup to in-app ordering to dedicated in-store pickup, every retailer has a nuanced version of convenience – making every shopping trip full of stress and confusion.  Each trip is generating questions such as “Where should I park?” “How long will this take?” “How do I let them know I’m here?” “Do I need to show a bar code or confirmation email?” and on and on. 

The retailer that can position itself as a leader through communication and clarity in this post-pandemic period will create confident consumers and gain a huge competitive advantage.

"The lack of clarity in the consumer experience is ongoing with no definite end in sight."

To get to the root of this confusion, Big Red Rooster conducted research to track consumer feelings and better understand how to address them effectively and efficiently.  Our findings revealed that 60% of millennials say that their experience is negatively impacted by a lack of clear communications and instructions. And 51%   of consumers say that parking congestion or confusion is also negatively impacting their shopping experience.

The lack of clarity is the only clear thing. Retailers need to start overcommunicating or risk becoming lost in a sea of noise and long wait times.

Chick-fil-A is a notable leader in clear communications. The brand avoids clarity issues and expertly guides customers through unexpected changes by having a dedicated employee to "hold their hands" throughout the process.  Chick-fil-A has paid excruciatingly close attention to the consumer experience – and it's paying off.

On the other side of things is Ikea. Struggling to adapt to new consumer shopping habits, Ikea's click & collect curbside pickup services are causing frustration among consumers, who say the service is near impossible to find in the retailer's giant parking lots. To add insult to injury, the company’s customer service lines are slow to respond and provide consumers with immediate responses and solutions to their problems.

The lack of clarity in the consumer experience is ongoing with no definite end in sight. The ball continues to stay in retailers' courts – with all of us watching to see which brands will take advantage of this opportunity and establish themselves as trusted leaders.

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