Study: 3 Ways Stores Can Keep Up with Ever-Evolving Shoppers
With so many brick-and-mortar and web stores, how do shoppers decide what to buy and where to shop? And, how can stores keep up with their ever-changing expectations?
We decided to go to the source and ask shoppers. Here’s what we found:
- In-Store Marketing Has Bigger Shoes to Fill
As many as 89% of shoppers are now becoming aware of products outside of advertising. As advertising effectiveness continues to free fall, options to get in front of shoppers and influence their behavior are becoming increasingly limited. And now brick-and-mortar is under increased pressure to deliver more targeted experiences and control the moment of truth at the shelf:
- Only 11% of shoppers typically discover a brand or product through traditional advertising, which includes tv, billboards, radio, and catalogues
- However, 41% of shoppers typically discover a brand or product through browsing a store as compared to 27% in 2015
- Shoppers are also making 2.5X more unplanned purchases in-store than online
Lack-luster advertising results aren’t the only thing adding pressure to stores. Declining store traffic is also making an impression. The good news is that as retail traffic continues to decrease, in-store purchase intent is, in fact, increasing. But, responding with one-size fits-all in-store marketing will be a fast road to failure. Stores must shift tactics to address informed shoppers and focus on optimizing every single shopper visit:
- With 80% of shoppers doing some kind of research before they go to the store, generic mass-marketing won’t be enough.
- In-store marketing must bring more value to shoppers. Half of shoppers actually stated that they never or rarely find advertising, content or promotions seen in-store valuable.
Shoppers noted that they would, however, be more likely to shop at stores that offer:
- 85% – promotions/offers/experiences personalized to them in real-time
- 64% – personalized recommendations for products to purchase
- 85% – a loyalty program with personalized in-store rewards
- 63% – content or offers specifically tailored to them in real-time and delivered on in-store screens rather than mobile
Moving forward, it’s clear that shoppers are paying less and less attention to generic marketing pushed at them, and continue to be influenced by self-directed avenues. With its hold on over 90% of all U.S. retail sales, stores therefore have a bigger role to fill. For this challenge, stores must breakdown shopper behavior much like online stores do and start matching the kinds of tailored, hyper-experiences that shoppers have come to expect thanks to online.
- Convenience First, Price Second
Shoppers aren’t just shopping online because they believe it saves them more money than shopping in-store. When they choose to shop online, it’s also because of gaps in the in-store shopping experience. For many their desire for convenience isn’t being met in-store:
- In reality, 59% of shoppers believe online saves them more money, as opposed to 41% who believe stores actually save them more money.
- When shoppers were asked the top three reasons they generally choose to shop at the stores they do regularly, convenience actually ranked slightly higher than price: 1) Convenience, 2) Price, 3) Selection.
And, what happens when shoppers don’t get the convenience they seek and instead get a bad shopping experience? The results were very different for brick-and-mortar versus online.
After a bad shopping experience in-store:
- 34% of shoppers would not shop there again
- Of those shoppers that would give the store a second chance, 78% noted that after 1-2 more chances they would switch to another retail store
After a bad experience online:
- 64% of shoppers would not buy there again
- Of those shoppers that would give the store a second chance, 81% noted that after 1-2 more chances they would switch to another retail store
As we already know, today’s shoppers don’t have to go to a physical store anymore—they’ve got everything they need literally at their fingertips. While brick-and-mortar does see more loyalty than online, shoppers have become very unforgiving and their expectations continue to rise, groomed by the convenience of online shopping. The key for stores will be learning to unlock real-time insight into the shopping experience to interact with shoppers while they are engaged and identify issues before they become a problem.
- Amazon-Like Tech In-Store
Second only to a Google and other search engines, shoppers say Amazon is one of the top spots they go to learn more about a product or brand. And now Amazon is wielding its technology in new ways and showing us a new high-tech vision for brick-and-mortar with Amazon Go. And, shoppers seem to be buying in:
- 68% of shoppers believe in-store technology improves their shopping experience
- 84% of shoppers who have used self-help digital kiosks or displays feel they improve the shopping experience, and 95% believe more stores should offer them
- 58% believe in-store technologies help make their interactions with a brand online to offline more fluid and convenient
After years of the easy, fluid online shopping, shoppers aren’t prepared to settle for the bare minimum in-store any longer. Stores must start looking into how technology can streamline and better target the in-store shopping experience to shopper behaviors, interests and demographics.
Much of retail understanding of today’s ever-evolving shopper is built from their web and social media behavior—little is known about their behavior in brick-and-mortar. From the time the shopper walks into the store to checkout, there’s a blindspot. Transaction and loyalty data offer some insight after the shopper has left the store, days or weeks later. But it’s these pre-purchase moments that are most critical for brick-and-mortar brands and retailers to understand and react to in real-time. After all, it is in these moments that shoppers are making purchasing decisions.
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