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Comment: The six elements of appeasing modern shoppers

While not a fan of the term omnichannel, or other buzzwords for that matter, understanding what these phrases are trying to convey is of interest. Deciphering what influences consumer behaviour and spending decisions is not only the most interesting, but the most essential element in comprehending how to appease shoppers in the omnichannel or "insert new buzz word here" world.

To determine this, Planet Retail leveraged its global consumer research* to reveal what encourages people to shop online, what is important when doing so, what influences spending decisions and choice of retailer. The role of mobile and instore technology in the path-to-purchase, and the impact of social media on purchasing decisions are also unveiled. Here, I’ll share the six elements we identified that are required to appease modern shoppers, or achieve "omnichannel"… if you must. 

Provide seamless online experiences

The importance of appeasing the needs of the increasingly device-agnostic shopper was hit home by the fact that 31% of consumer choice of retailer is influenced by the provision of a website optimised for mobile and tablet devices. Regardless of device used to shop, 51% want the website to be easy to use with a quick and simple checkout process, compared to 39% wanting a website with lots of features and functionality. With consumers switching between devices when shopping, delivering quick and easy experiences across all screens is imperative. Retailers failing to accommodate the needs of these shoppers risk losing them to those that can.

Empower smartphone users

Planet Retail discovered that 45% of consumers use their mobiles during their purchasing journey, and want to be able to use them as the ultimate shopping companion. The research revealed 53% of consumers want to use their mobiles to quickly and easily check prices when instore, while 35% want to be able to use them to order out-of-stock items instore for home delivery. Embracing showrooming and leveraging technology to facilitate it through catering for how consumers use smartphones to shop, interact and engage will lead to higher spend and greater loyalty.

Create a compelling in-store environment

The future of stores hinges on their ability to serve customers across all channels. This requires deploying technology that meets a need or solves a pain point to create engaging experiences. Planet Retail found that 20% of shoppers had engaged with a member of staff equipped with a tablet computer, while 19% had used an in-store kiosk, 17% had placed on order through one. However, with 33% having accessed a retailer’s free instore Wi-Fi with their mobile or tablet, building solutions around the technology consumers already own might be a more cost-effective way of blending the channels than filling stores with self-service touchpoints.

Contextualised and personalised shopping

Demand for relevant, tailored shopping is on the rise. Planet Retail found that 41% of consumers would like to receive real-time promotions when in-store via their mobiles, while 36% of shopper retailer choice is influenced by an ability to personalise the website to only see what they’re interested in buying. Personalising every touchpoint and contextualising experiences has huge potential to drive loyalty and spend.

Social media can influence purchasing decisions

As consumers are utilising social media when making purchasing decisions, the shopper journey is now far more complex. With Planet Retail finding 39% of consumers taking information on social media into account when making purchasing decisions, and 44% feeling social networks are a good source of peer reviews and recommendations, it is now vital for retailers to be able to engage consumers and influence their spending decisions. Monetising social networks is about granting access to online content that is varied and compelling. In doing so, retailers will be able to provide superior product information, encourage social sharing and create upselling opportunities.

Fulfilment capabilities are a competitive differentiator

In the battle for online supremacy, providing choice, while shortening the distance and time between product and consumer, is essential. Planet Retail found that 52% of consumer choice of retailer is influenced by same or next-day delivery. While 47% would be encouraged to choose a retailer offering in-store collection, 56% would choose a retailer offering the ability to return unwanted items to their nearest store. Getting fulfilment wrong will see a detrimental impact on sales and brand advocacy.

The final word

Buzzwords are meaningless, as they mean nothing to the most important person, the consumer. They don’t shop channels, but the retailer or brand, from whom they are constantly demanding more. While we are entering the “new normal”, the principles of retailing – great products, superior service and compelling curation – remain. If modern shoppers are to be appeased, a customer-centric approach, with solutions built around how they shop, engage and interact with the retailer needs to be adopted.

Planet Retail’s six elements of appeasing the modern shopper go some way in determining how to engage and influence spending decisions at every stage of the increasingly complex shopper journey. Detailed insight on each element can be found in Planet Retail's report "Appeasing the modern Shopper, achieving omnichannel, or what consumers call shopping" – For more information, please contact marketing@planetretail.net

*For the second year running, Planet Retail questioned 15,000 consumers across ten key eCommerce markets (UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Japan) to gain a comprehensive picture of multichannel shoppers. 

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