Results of a New Shopper Study:Decoding the Phy-gital Shopper
Radha R, Executive Vice President – Retail, CPG, MFG and Travel & Hospitality at Mindtree
Radha has over 20 years of IT industry expertise with deep understanding of the Consumer Product Goods (CPG), Manufacturing, Retail and Travel & Transportation Industry. As the vertical head, Radha has established long-term strategic relationships with some of Mindtree’s largest global clients. She has played a decisive role in laying out the strategic roadmap to transform Mindtree and make it ready for 2020.
For some time now, savvy marketers have been stressing the importance of understanding today’s “phy-gital” shoppers—those who combine online and in-store experiences in whatever way is most convenient or efficient for them. The primary reason is that these shoppers, empowered by technology like mobile devices, machine intelligence, and cloud apps, have flipped the supply-demand model. Rather than supply meeting demand, now demand discovers supply.
This new model makes it critical for retailers to do a comprehensive omnichannel assessment. When a shopper discovers that she has a particular need, she is just as likely to turn to an internet-connected device to start her journey as she is to go into a store or look at a promotional circular or catalog. From there, the number of “touch points” she may accesses will often reach double digits—crossing physical and digital channels—before a purchase is made.
But what exactly do phy-gital shoppers want? Why do they choose one shopping experience over another? And what would make them shop more?
Last summer Mindtree set out to get answers by embarking on a large-scale, global survey of about 4,000 shoppers in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Benelux, focusing on four distinct market segments: apparel and footwear, grocery and home supplies, home and garden, and electronics. The largest portion of the survey was in the U.S., and the findings can help set a road map for retailers who want to be there at the moment when demand discovers supply.
Most Shoppers Are Now Phy-gital
The broadest question Mindtree sought to answer was: Just how widespread is phy-gital shopping? In the U.S., 60% of shoppers identify themselves as phy-gital, which is slightly less than the U.K. (70%) and more than Benelux and Germany (50% and 30%, respectively).
This evolution is unstoppable and we expect these percentages to grow larger over time, even approaching 100%. At the very least, it means retailers are running out of time to get serious about their omnichannel strategy.
Consumers Will Shop More with a Remarkable Experience
A big differentiator for this study is that Mindtree didn’t just ask shoppers what features they like or don’t like. Shoppers were directly asked to rate features that would “influence you to shop more.” It’s an important distinction, because that is ultimately what retailers are most interested in—more conversions.
The features that ranked high differed across market segment and region, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A deep dive into the full study is required to gain true insights for a particular kind of shopper, and some of them are noted below. But the overriding theme is this: Shoppers will purchase more if they get a truly remarkable shopping experience.
More Information, Less Friction, Across Channels
The U.S. segment of the study asked 2,400 Americans to rank more than 70 online and in-store features in terms of how likely each feature was to “influence you to shop more.” Each shopper was then asked to choose a Top 3 from the in-store features and the online features. What the most popular features have in common can be summed up by the idea that shoppers want more information and less friction across channels. Specific examples from the study can be broken into a few distinct insights.
Shoppers want a seamless experience in-store or online:
- 33% of shoppers listed as a Top 3 feature the ability to find out how crowded a store is before they go
- 13% of grocery shoppers listed omnichannel shopping carts as a Top 3 feature
- 33% of shoppers said they would buy more if they could return products to any store and get free home delivery
Shoppers want more technology in-store:
- 17% of apparel shoppers listed as a Top 3 feature the ability to self-checkout at a kiosk or via a roaming store associate with a tablet
- Shoppers want to use a phone, tablet or kiosk to quickly and efficiently locate products within the store, with 11% of electronics shoppers and 13% of home and garden shoppers listing it as a Top 3 feature
- Shoppers want to use in-store kiosks to order out-of-stock items for home delivery, with 12% of home and garden shoppers and 13% of electronics shoppers listing it as a Top 3 feature
Shoppers crave more information across channels:
- 24% of shoppers listed as a Top 3 feature the ability to get a 360-degree view of products online with good zoom quality (a feature that less than 5% of retailers we reviewed offer)
- 50% of shoppers listed flexible purchase and delivery options as a Top 3 feature (buy anywhere with home delivery or in-store pickup)
- 24% of shoppers listed as a Top 3 feature access to information such as price and product comparisons or a list of best-selling products (both online and in-store)
Shoppers would like personalized service and recommendations:
- 20% of grocery shoppers listed as a Top 3 feature the ability to get recipe recommendations and product suggestions
- 14% of grocery shoppers listed as a Top 3 feature the ability to have shopping lists automatically generated for them, and which can be altered while shopping in-store
Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial
The picture painted by the survey results is clear: The retailers that can consistently deliver on the foundational concepts of the shopping experience—more information, less friction, service across all channels—will lead the way into retail’s future.
The best way to deliver this kind of remarkable experience is by creating and delivering a robust omnichannel strategy. And not just on the customer-facing side, but also for internal operations and systems. To that end retailers will want a unified data store that can a) create a centralized, 360-degree view of customers, and b) merge back-end operations, with integrated real-time data on product information, inventory and order tracking across all channels.
One thing is for certain—with the majority of shoppers now officially phy-gital, there’s no time to lose.
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