Consumer spending insights to help retailers reduce purchase barriers and increase conversion

May 20, 2021 by Paul Arnhold

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Service Management Group (SMG), a global customer, patient and employee experience management partner to more than 500 brands, has published new research highlighting non-purchaser behavior and gaps in the customer journey that prevent conversion. Given the challenges associated with collecting non-purchaser data and the value it provides for brands focused on reducing churn and driving revenue, SMG developed this study to provide retailers with actionable ways to prevent or overcome purchase barriers.

Using BrandGeek®—SMG’s market intelligence tool and the fastest, most accurate source of behavioral data linked to consumer feedback in real time—SMG collected feedback from more than 2,500 consumers who indicated they intended to make a purchase but did not or purchased less than they intended. Here are three key themes from the research:

1. Non-purchasers are purposeful shoppers – While it’s reasonable to assume non-purchasers are more likely to be browsing than actively shopping, this study found the opposite to be true. When asked if they planned to visit the retailer in advance, 69 percent of respondents said yes and 47 percent of respondents indicated they visited the brand because they were looking for a specific item. And when brands can’t meet a consumer’s needs, their next stop is most likely a competitor: 40 percent of respondents indicated that when they couldn’t find the item they planned to purchase, they would buy it from another retailer.

2. Product availability is the biggest barrier – Nearly 1 in 10 consumers didn’t purchase what they intended to during their shopping trip, and the non-purchaser rate is even higher for apparel, department and specialty retailers. When consumers were asked why they left without making a purchase, more than 40 percent of consumers indicated the issue was product availability, 27 percent left because what they wanted was out of stock and 14 percent indicated there wasn’t a good selection.

3. Knowledgeable staff can save the transaction + long-term customer loyalty – While customers who can’t find an item are more likely to seek out assistance, only 61 percent of respondents were offered assistance during their visit and just 2 in 5 customers who received assistance were highly satisfied with the assistance they received. Perhaps most concerning is the impact a non-purchase experience can have on a customer’s likelihood to return—non-purchasers are 20 percent less likely to return within three weeks compared to customers who purchase as much as intended and eight times less likely to return if they weren’t highly satisfied with the assistance they received.

“As competition continues to increase, particularly from the e-commerce giants, conversion and churn represent two of the biggest opportunities for retail brands,” said SMG SVP of Research Paul Tiedt. “Often perceived as a data unicorn in the customer experience industry, non-purchaser feedback data triggered by individual visits is a powerful tool for brands looking to increase conversion and customer loyalty.”


About Service Management Group

SMG inspires experiences that improve people’s lives. We are a catalyst for change—helping organizations generate new revenue, grow existing revenue, reduce churn and detractors, and drive operational efficiencies. Our unique software with a service (SwaS) model puts a dual focus on platform technology and professional services, making it easy for brands to activate insights based on customer, patient, and employee feedback. To learn more about our customer, employee, and brand experience management (XM) solutions, visit www.smg.com.

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