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CI&T Releases Third Annual Connected Retail Report – Revealing Intra-Pandemic Consumers Want Consistent Shopping Across All Channels

Retailers to Watch in 2023 Include Best Buy, IKEA, and Petco for their Seamless Blend of Digital and Physical Experiences

CI&T, a leader in driving digital transformation for global brands, announced the release of its third annual Connected Retail Report, revealing consumers’ evolving attitudes and expectations for omnichannel shopping as well as the “2023 Retailers to Watch” with winning formulas for connected retail. This year’s report shows intra-pandemic consumers are hopping between online and offline shopping in the ways that work best for them and expect consistent experiences regardless of the avenue, posing a new channel balancing act for retailers.

With store restrictions lifted, consumers are recalibrating their shopping routines and along the way redefining what they want out of the “Connected Retail” experience. According to the report, consumers are shopping digital and physical channels at almost identical rates, evenly splitting their time between online (48%) and offline (52%) shopping, however, the vast majority (86%) of respondents have the same expectations for both retail worlds. Consumers reinforced this point by indicating that they have highly similar desired capabilities for online and brick-and-mortar stores with reliable in-stocks, easy returns, and efficient shopping journeys being the most valued aspects of the user experience. As a result, retailers need to evolve their thinking of “Connected Retail” as across-the-board innovation so that consumers can channel-hop without disappointment.

“Every response to our consumer survey indicated a desire for a customer experience that is convenient, efficient, and aligned with current shopping habits,” said Melissa Minkow, Director of Retail Strategy at CI&T and author of the Connected Retail Report. “Now it’s up to retailers to build services that best accommodate those preferences, while building the right bridges between channels to incentivize simultaneous use.”

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Key themes include:

  • All eyes on delivery: Consumers have an unmatched appreciation for delivery, respondents overwhelmingly ranked delivery as the most important fulfillment option. Consumers are almost six times more likely to order an item online for delivery than pick it up via curbside or via BOPIS, reinforcing the idea that consumers are looking for efficiency and convenience.
  • Exercise caution with the metaverse: 81% of respondents have not yet shopped in the metaverse and 45% indicated that they could never see themselves shopping in it. The report’s metaverse data serves as a warning to those retailers rushing to debut a rollout.
  • Consumers are particular about personalization: 59% of respondents said they are excited by the idea of a retailer using their preferences and shopping history to personalize the shopping experience. Digitally, the top three aspects consumers would like to see personalized on a retailer’s app or website include: showing the closest store based on location, offering discounts on products bought regularly and sharing product suggestions based on previous purchases.

CI&T’s 2023 Retailers to Watch

This year’s retailers prioritized convenience, personalization, and the seamlessly connected shopping journeys that align with consumer preferences for each channel. While creative and innovative initiatives are appealing, in practice, they must fit into the brand ecosystem that consumers are familiar with. These retailers are not only pushing the envelope when it comes to innovative thinking, but also successfully translating customers’ habits, needs, and expectations into an experience that works for them, while maintaining high quality standards and consistency across all channels.

CI&T’s 2023 Retailers to Watch include:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Apple
  • Best Buy
  • Home Depot
  • IKEA
  • Nike
  • Petco
  • Sephora
  • Target
  • Ulta

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