Latest research from independent shopper research agency Shoppercentric reveals how retailers have yet to truly connect digitally with shoppers.
The report, “WindowOn…Connected Shoppers” examines shoppers habits and how they use both digital and traditional touchpoints within the purchase journey. More than 1,000 shoppers, aged 16+ and own a smartphone, took part in the survey, along with two focus groups of early-technology adopters who use their smartphone as part of the purchase process.
The report revealed how using smartphones as a part of the shopping process has only increased nine per cent in the past two years (Shoppercentric UK research 2013) despite the significant growth in mobile-enabled websites and apps.
Of those who don’t regularly use a smartphone as part of the purchase process, 36 per cent expect to in the future; these future users are less involved in technology - less likely to have a tablet/SmartTV/wearable device - and are more likely to be aged 45+.
One in three smartphone owners have shopped using an app while only one in ten of all smartphone users regularly use apps as part of the purchase process – suggesting that they are failing to provide the right content.
Meanwhile, more than twice as many shoppers head for a website on their smartphone when in-store, rather than an app.
In-store smartphone users utilise the devices for sharing ideas the most (47 per cent) followed by comparing prices (29 per cent) and product information (20 per cent). Interestingly sharing photos, taking pictures as a reminder, store location and browsing (with no intention to purchase) were all cited by 17 per cent of respondents. Using a smartphone anywhere for shopping was used primarily for store location information (36 per cent). Using it to get ideas and for seeking out reviews came in joint second place at 32 per cent.
As for what improvements could retailers and brands do to make shoppers happier? Better value for money topped the list (81 per cent) followed by discounts for loyalty (64 per cent) and better customer services (38 per cent) while making shopping easier (30 per cent) and quicker (26 per cent) were also highly requested.
“The way in which shoppers connect with retailers has changed significantly in the past year and is set to continue to evolve at a rapid pace,” said Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric, “as a result it’s easy to jump on the innovation bandwagon, but before taking the leap it’s important to make sure you understand whether that innovation will ease the path to purchase or whether it’s just another point of frustration for shoppers."
She continued: “One in three shoppers want the shopper process made easier so there’s a real need to better connect, especially since shoppers really are willing and open to this approach, but only if there’s a clear benefit to them and a seamless process."
Today’s shoppers are still seeing the "rough edges" that indicate that we’re not quite there yet.
"We also cannot rely on smartphone connections alone either and must remember the numerous other touchpoints that shoppers use when shopping. It’s really important to view the whole shopper experience and all of the channels and opportunities there are to sell to and fully connect with shoppers,” said Pinnington.
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