Retailers that offer a seamless experience across online and offline sales channels are set to be rewarded by consumers, according to a new survey.

The Sterling Commerce study found 57% of US shoppers wanted the ability to return or exchange products in-store, regardless of whether they had bought them from a website, catalogue or shop.

Two-thirds of consumers also expected to be able to cancel or change their order via any channel.

Many respondents said they would like retailers to make it easier to check availability and pricing in stores.

Forty-three percent said sales staff had not been able to say if out-of-stock items were available at other branches, while 54% said retailers should locate and send products free of charge to consumers if they are unavailable.

Only 13% said they would look on the web if a product was unavailable at their local branch, while half said they would go to a rival firm and one fifth said they would not make the purchase at all.

Sterling Commerce’s Jim Bengier said:

“As retailers ramp up for the biggest shopping event of the year — the holidays — their readiness to address today’s cross-channel customers’ expectations could decide their success.

“The cross-channel experience has created today’s ‘spoiled consumer,’ and it raises the bar for every retailer.”

The company surveyed 5,000 consumers in the US during June and July.

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