In-store shopping experience needs innovation to compete with internet

29th Sep 2011

Retailers need to develop more innovative in-store shopping experiences if they are to expand and grow in today’s current economic environment, HP is warning.

The technology giant is urging European retailers to bring aspects of the online shopping experience onto the high street, as increasing interaction with touch-based technologies takes hold and creates new demand among consumers to create similar experiences in store.
In addition to better integrating data from their expanding number of channels, retailers should also create personalised experiences in the store which mirror their online and mobile offerings. At the same time, they should incorporate consumer-friendly technology experiences in-store such as touch-based screens for sourcing product and store information and innovative use of digital signage.
Kobi Elbaz, director of client solutions at HP Personal Systems Group, said integrating the most effective aspects of online shopping with their mobile and in-store offerings in order to provide a seamless customer experience would ultimately encourages shopper loyalty and increases sales.
“It’s clear that the experience in the physical store is critical to a shoppers’ final purchasing decision and retailers must combine the best of in-store, online and mobile services and offerings to provide seamless cross-channel experiences in-store,” Elbaz said. “Many retailers are realising that the integration of all these elements will create unique shopping experiences that will encourage customers to browse, learn more about products, and encourage them to return and buy.”
More than half of the top 50 European retailers use more than three channels to sell direct to consumers, according to research by HP. However, shoppers’ ever increasing expectations for seamless cross-channel shopping experiences means they need to better connect the dots between their mobile, online and in-store offerings.
According to HP’s research, nearly all of the top 50 European retailers (98%) have a physical store presence, while just 86% have a website. Even more surprisingly, a third of European retailers offer a mail order catalogue, although just 28% have a mobile commerce app and 30% have an m-commerce website. Some European retailers are also experimenting with Facebook as a channel, although just 2% are actively offering F-commerce capabilities.
Despite the significant investment going into multiple channels, many retailers have not yet connected the various elements to take advantage of additional sales opportunities. Research from YouGov found that 78% of multi-channel shoppers found price offers available online which were not subsequently available when they went in-store.
But despite becoming ever more adept at shopping cross-channel, many consumers still choose to complete their purchase in a store; 51% of shoppers say that they research online and then buy in-store. Meanwhile three quarters of smartphone shoppers made a purchase as a result of using their smartphone. Of these, 76%purchased in-store, 59% online and only 35% have made a purchase via their mobile device.

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