Consumers who had a frustrating shopping experience are three times more likely than satisfied consumers to not buy from the retailer or brand again, but companies that consistently exceed customer expectations could significantly increase revenues by charging a premium for the experience, according to new research from Accenture.

The research is based on a survey of more than 20,000 consumers across 19 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Respondents were deemed to be frustrated if they said that their most-recent shopping (i.e., browsing and/or purchasing) experience didn’t meet their expectations and/or if they found any aspect of the shopping experience frustrating. Of the 20,736 respondents, 8,757 — or 42 per cent — fell into the “frustrated” bucket.

A key finding of the study was that nearly half (47 per cent) of frustrated respondents said they would avoid doing business with the retailer or consumer goods brand, showing that a frustrating experience can significantly damage brand loyalty.

At the same time, however, the same number (47 per cent) of all consumers said they would be willing to pay more for an experience that exceeds their expectations every time, with frustrated customers almost twice as likely as satisfied consumers to say they’d be willing to pay more for such an experience.

“Despite digital technologies fueling an explosion in opportunities to engage and interact with consumers throughout their browsing and shopping experience, many retailers and brands still struggle to deliver a seamless experience across the integrated marketplace,” said Laura Gurski, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s Consumer Goods and Services practice.

“Meeting or exceeding expectations calls for a complete rethink, all the way from developing new concepts through manufacturing to the store shelf and beyond. And with so many consumers willing to pay more for an experience that exceeds expectations, there’s a potential pot of gold for those that get it right.”

According to the research, frustrated consumers overall were far more likely than satisfied consumers to say they’d be willing to pay more for such an experience (62 per cent vs. 36 per cent, respectively).

“We are in a day and age when loyalty needs to be rethought and rewarded with fresh tactics,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s Retail practice.

“By replacing traditional points-based programs with responsible, mobile-enabled, customer-focused concepts retailers and consumer goods brands can strike a new kind of value bargain with these customers: a hyper-convenient personalised digital experience in return for new insights into consumer preferences and behaviour.”

Standish said, “If they can translate this level of data and analytics sophistication into a human-centric form the whole workforce can get behind, they can orient their entire businesses around the consumers with the greatest lifetime potential.”

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