Posts tagged online shopping
The following article, written by Paul Demery, Chief Technology Editor for InternetRetailer.com, emphasizes the importance of easy navigation both in-store and online. Talk to your MBS Representative about the ways the MBS system can streamline both experiences by giving your store an omni-channel strategy.
Most shoppers, 65% in fact, say that if an e-commerce site doesn’t quickly show what they want, they’ll just shop elsewhere, according to a new study conducted by OnePoll for Redwood Software, which sells technology that helps retailers automate business processes such as updating product information on web sites.
Retail stores scored even worse in the study, which found that 75% of consumers say they have left a store without making a purchase when they couldn’t quickly find the product they were looking for. The study was based on an online survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers in March 2013.
When the poll asked consumers to name specific shopping experiences that annoy them, it received the following answers, with the percentage of respondents citing each:
● Repeating personal information to a customer service rep after entering that information online or via telephone, 62%;
● Going to a store to find something, only to find it’s out of stock, 61%;
● Repeating account information or issues every time a shopper is transferred to another customer service rep, 59%;
● Waiting for a credit on an account after returning a product, 52%;
● The hassle of returning online purchases, 49%;
● Trying to buy something online, only to find it’s unavailable, 47%;
● The hassle of returning in-store purchases, 37%.
The study also found:
● 49% of online shoppers abandon transactions that take too long;
● 48% of online shoppers abandon transactions that are too complicated.
Despite all the hype around social media, consumers remain more likely to obtain or share shopping-related information via more traditional online channels. In fact, consumers report using email and other more established online channels about half of the time to share shopping information, according to new research from Radius Global Market Research.
By contrast, the market research firm found that consumers use social media anywhere from 9% to 39% of the time — depending on the product or service category — to share about shopping.
“There’s still uncertainty [among marketers] as to the proper weight to put behind digital media channels, especially social media, to optimize return on investment,” said Chip Lister, managing director of Radius GMR.
Yet while social media is used less often than traditional channels for informing purchase decisions, its influence is certainly meaningful, Lister noted.
Radius GMR found that social networks are most often used around baby care equipment (39%), electronics (35%), automobiles (28%), toys and games (23%), and household appliances (23%).
“It’s apparent that social media is more influential in those more emotionally connected service and product categories like baby care,” Lister added. “It appears that mothers tend to seek out via social media the opinion of other mothers, and are influenced by them fairly often.”
More broadly, consumers surveyed by Radius indicated that they were most likely to use online information to inform purchase decisions around big-ticket purchases, such as travel (76% used during last purchase), electronics (73%), automobiles (67%), baby care equipment (66%), and household appliances (64%).
Purchasers across all categories are most likely to utilize online sources before making a purchase versus sharing information about their experience with the product after purchase, Radius found.
For its study, Radius surveyed U.S. households in the fourth quarter of 2012. The firm’s Know More Web panel represents over 3.4 million households, with over 6 million consumers in the U.S.
With most stores closed on Christmas Day, consumers went online in greater numbers than the same day a year ago to shop, according to new data from IBM.
Online sales on Christmas Day increased 16.4% from Christmas Day 2010, according to IBM’s Benchmark survey of 500 major online retailers. Early IBM data for Dec. 26 suggests that online sales yesterday were up 10% from a year ago. IBM did not provide dollar figures for its spending estimates.
Online traffic and sales originating from web-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers increased on Christmas Day compared with the same day a year ago, according to the IBM survey.
The company says 18.3% of all traffic to online retail sites came from a mobile device on Christmas Day, up from 8.4% a year ago. Of that traffic percentage, 7.0% of the traffic to retailers came from consumers using iPad tablet computers, 6.4% from iPhone users and 5.0% from smartphones operating on the Android platform. Overall, consumers using mobile devices accounted for 14.4% of the day’s sales, up from 5.3% on Christmas Day a year ago. IBM did not report the sales breakdown by device.
As of 2 p.m. Central time Dec. 26, mobile devices accounted for 18.7% of all of that day’s traffic to the retail sites included in the IBM Benchmark survey. Consumers using mobile devices accounted for 13.8% of sales. About 89 million mobile users in the U.S. own smartphones, according to a recent GfK/SapientNitro study, which says 30% of smartphone owners say they’ve used a mobile app to search for or purchase a product this holiday season.
There’s an ongoing debate about the viability of “bricks and mortar” retail in a digital world. With online and mobile commerce growing at a double-digit pace and physical stores lagging far behind, how long will it be before clicks overtake bricks? Some extremists predict an almost complete eradication of physical stores.
While I agree that a very high percentage (and eventually the majority) of what we buy we’ll buy online and/or have automatically replenished, I also believe there will always be a place in our society for physical stores.
Why We Shop
The rationale lies in the reasons why we shop in the first place. The first and most obvious reason is to acquire the things we need and want. It’s clearly this aspect of of shopping that the internet has had the greatest impact on. The ability to select from hundreds of products, compare options, order what we want and have it on our doorstep the following day has put perilous pressure on traditional store models.
But the second and perhaps more important reason we shop has remained unchanged since the beginning of time. Shopping is a social activity. We venture to stores for the same reason we congregated in the market bazaar over a thousand years ago – to be a part of the crowd, to people-watch and for a few hours to lose ourselves in the magic of aimless browsing. At it’s core, shopping has much less to do with economic need and a lot more to do with human gratification.
The Changing Definition of “Store”
What’s certain is that our beliefs about the purpose stores serve is changing quickly. The once well-defined line between online and in-store experiences is now being obscured. Social and experiential elements of the physical store are being incorporated into online stores. Apple for example recently applied for a patent that seems aimed at making online shoppers actually feel like they’re in the store by merging aspects of the two experiences. Likewise, collaborations like that between Adidas and Intel, are proving that in-store experiences can be more web-like by bringing information and media right to the customers’ finger tips in a highly interactive way.
But the question remains, with consumers becoming increasingly comfortable buying just about anything online, what real value will stores bring to the brands they represent? Why build stores?
The Store As Media
We’ve traditionally used media to drive consumers into stores. If marketers could get us across the store threshold, their job was largely done. In other words, the store was the end of the marketing funnel – the goal line so to speak.
Increasingly, stores will instead act as branded media. They will function less as places that simply sell products and more like interactive galleries, showrooms and workshops – places where consumers can have aesthetic, visceral and emotional experiences with the brand – that can’t be replicated online. In this sense the store will become the customer’s first brand touchpoint – not the last. The entry point of the marketing funnel.
With this shift, the financial expectations of stores will change. Brands will regard their stores less as sales and profit centers and more as a marketing and media expense. Conventional store success metrics like sales per square foot and inventory turns, will steadily give way to marketing and media-based metrics. A good day in-store won’t be entirely about how many widgets were sold but also about how many positive impressions were generated and how those impressions converted into social buzz and ongoing brand interactions.
Today’s stores work to fill the customers cart with product. The store of tomorrow will work to fill customer’s handhelds with branded media, applications and other digital incentives to form a relationship with the brand. In other words, the store of the future will not simply aim to open the customer’s wallet but also to open their minds and hearts to the brand in its totality.
This concept represents a profound paradigm shift and one that will be problematic for many retailers to get their arms around. For savvy retail brands on the other hand, it will represent the next frontier of retail supremacy.