In today’s digital age offline and online consumer shopping experiences are heavily interrelated. Even as late as the turn of the century, the consumer’s path to sale was relatively straightforward. The consumer looked for information on brands, products and/or services through single channels and close-knit friends. The proliferation of channels, mobile devices and social media has drastically changed this environment. Research shows that the lines between offline and online shopping experiences have converged.
The times they are a-changin’
Not only is the consumer very well informed, he/she also has the option of concurrently scanning multiple storefronts – online as well as offline. Here are the key takeaways from the Google/Ipsos holiday shopper study. [The % do not add up to 100% due to the way the questions were framed]
- 44% of shoppers research and purchase goods online
- 51% of shoppers research online and purchase goods in stores
- 17% of shoppers view goods in stores and then purchase online
- 32% of shoppers research online, view the goods in stores, and then make the purchase online
The offline (in-store) shopper is very aware of the digital channels. As per RSR Report on Omni-channels 2013
- 92% of off-line buyers have looked for product information online
- Consumers use 10.7 sources of information before a purchase.
- 65% of purchase decisions start on a smartphone but 61% of these continue on a PC/laptop
- 25% of purchase decisions start on a PC/laptop and 19% continue on a smartphone
- Smartphones play a major role in shopping and a whole 81% of purchase decisions are ‘spur of the moment’
CAUTIONARY NOTE: Last click attribution for marketing ROI is inadequate. It leads to wrong decisions. This is one big reason agencies fail to deliver demonstrable ROI. Read more here.
Adventures in boot buying
Here’s my shoe buying experience as a multi-channel case in point. In the market for a pair of everyday wear boots I spent some time in the malltrying on different pairs. I ultimately converged on Clarks desert shoesbecause of the soft rubber sole and the beeswax finish to the upper. Unfortunately the Softmocs store did not have my size in stock and they suggested I purchase online. This was not acceptable to me. Shoes are an odd beast IMHO. Shoe sizing seems to vary dramatically across manufacturers and even among styles for the same manufacturer. I did not want to purchase boots without trying them on. So I walked away. I did some web based research to find the retailers who stock Clarks. A week later I go to Townshoes at a downtown mall. This store had the exact model in stock in my size. Unfortunately the pricing was $30 more than what Softmocs was advertising. No sweat. I showed the pricing on my Blackberry to the sales associate and she matched the price on the spot. 🙂
Prepare or be left behind
The more things change, the more they stay the same. You could call this CRM 2.0 but it still is CRM to manage customer relationships across all digital channels, from acquisition through to retention. To prepare for omni-channel marketing, download this unique Cookbook by clicking on the button below.