Multichannel shopping experience providing marketers with greatest opportunityby
New technology channels have hugely influenced the way we shop, with different channels overlapping and providing multiple roles - all of which means that marketers have a greater chance to make an impact on the purchasing journey than ever before.
According to a new survey by Shoppercentric, consumers still prefer to shop in-store but an increase in new technologies is creating a multichannel shopping experience.
In a poll of 1,001 shoppers, 87% still use in-store shopping, regarding stores as the most trusted channel for getting advice. Over 70% believe stores provide a good experience of try-before-you-buy with two thirds agreeing that stores also provide the most secure way of shopping. However, the biggest issues for shops were cited as crowding (79%), followed by high prices (50%) and time requirements (50%).
However, the rise of new technology channels is changing to way shoppers purchase goods with shoppers now expecting a seamless, multichannel experience.
According to the report, 45% of shoppers now own a smartphone and 14% own tablets, whilst shoppers use QR codes (5%), apps (9%) and social media (7%) during a purchase journey.
Over half of smartphone users cited not being able to experience the products and 41% citing slow connection as key frustrations when shopping on a smart phone.
Nearly 60% of tablet users claimed they liked the device most for offering easy access to information but, like smartphones, 46% cited not being able to experience the products as the biggest issue, said the research.
With shops as the most trusted channel for getting advice, brand websites and comparison websites scored the most for providing trustworthy information with 40% and 39% respectively. The least trusted route is social media with 17%, but surprisingly, half of respondents perceived social media as the best source of exclusives on new products.
Danielle Pinnington, MD at Shoppercentric, said: “New technology channels are changing the way we shop – the flexibility they provide gives shoppers almost universal choice and access. Despite this, our research says 45% of shoppers will ‘always love going to the shops, no matter what new technologies are available’. The key point is that shoppers are becoming very adept at picking and choosing the channel that suits them under particular circumstances. Yet retailers and brands have tended to compartmentalise – thinking of shoppers who shop versus shoppers who go online. They’ve even structured themselves so that the shops are managed by one team and the online by another – very few have successfully merged the two.
She added: “Our data shows that a huge amount of overlap between channels exists - shoppers don’t assign individual roles to individual channels. Despite each channel having different core strengths and weaknesses, going online isn’t just about researching a product or buying (cheaply), and likewise visiting the stores isn’t just about browsing.”
Pinnington advised that the trick is to deliver a “seamless, but tailored experience for shoppers” in order to “understand that channels have multiple roles for shoppers; they aren’t just where shoppers buy products, they are where they go for inspiration, information, advice, range, prices, offers, and product experience in order to make a purchase.
“Marketers should be excited about the prospect of being able to make an impact on the purchasing journey in many more ways than before. The opportunity to change shopper behaviour is better than it has ever been. The retailer or brand that is able to use all the channels at its disposal to meet shoppers’ needs is the business that will reap the rewards.”
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