Retailers are entering a new era of consumer shopping behavior fueled by the digital world in which we live. The explosion of digital content has major implications for retailers across all of the channels through which they offer products and services.
In fact, a new study just released by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) reveals that web-based digital content is now the most powerful influence on buying decisions for shoppers across all retail channels. The study surveyed 5,000 shoppers across five countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, and China.
The study’s results highlight the need for retailers to “catch and keep” today’s consumers, who now effortlessly “mash-up” digital and physical shopping. At this week’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention & Expo, Cisco will explain how retailers can take advantage of this evolution in consumer shopping behavior.
Cisco IBSG found that a majority of shoppers, categorized as the “Digital Mass Market,” have advanced beyond the capabilities of many retailers. These shoppers expect stores to operate with the same information, transparency, and speed as their favorite websites, and two-thirds are interested in personalized shopping experiences when visiting a store.
In addition, these shoppers overwhelmingly prefer in-store self-service access to digital content (85 percent), with one in three using mobile searches to guide their purchasing decisions—up 20 percent from a similar study conducted by Cisco IBSG the previous year.
Here are some of the key findings from the U.S. portion of the study:
Shoppers demand more access to in-store digital content
- 78 percent use the Internet to research and purchase products and services.
- 71 percent want to access digital content in the store.
- 60 percent now expect more value, and 53 percent expecting greater price visibility.
Online resources have strong influence on shoppers’ buying decisions
- 52 percent cited ratings and reviews on retailer websites as most influential in guiding their purchase decisions, followed by advice from friends and family (49 percent).
- Shoppers preferred online ratings and reviews by a 4:1 margin over advice from store employees.
Shoppers want more mobile, self-service access to information and personalized services
- 65 percent research online and purchase in store—up from 57 percent last year.
- Cross-channel shopping journeys involving mobile devices rose on average by 20 percent from the previous study.
Cisco also tested consumer interest in several key digital service concepts. Use of personal mobile shopping, an interactive room-design experience, a touchscreen device to help select products, and automated pickup for online orders all ranked high among shoppers, with roughly 50 percent stating they were interested in these types of services.
Leading retailers are already developing and testing omnichannel digital experiences to differentiate and revitalize their brands. Given consumers’ new digitally based channel-hopping behavior, retailers must establish how they will “catch” customers and “keep” them within their brands during the shopping journey. The time to act is now.
For complete results of Cisco IBSG’s survey, click here.