The internet has become an integral part of the shopping experience for a very large proportion of the population. At first this was through researching products at home on the shared home-PC, however with the launch of the modern smartphone in the early 21st century the internet is now portable and the phone is used both as a portal to information on a scale that would have been unimaginable a few years ago and as a direct route to purchase.
Whilst for many big ticket items, shoppers still want to go into store to touch and feel the product, to better visualize how the product might sit in their own home and to gain a better understanding of the product’s benefits, the internet is increasingly playing an important role in-store.
At the very beginning of the shopping journey, when the idea of purchasing the product first enters the consumer’s mindset crystallizes research is done to expand the potential choice of product. New brands are discovered, price and features are researched for a short amount of time and either enter the consumer’s consideration set or get discarded. Consumers then move onto selecting a potential short list of products to choose from. This is the point where people may make the decision to visit retailers to carry out the more physical interaction with the products. At this point the shopper has a choice, they can decide:
- They don’t need the product - To make the purchase straight away in the store - To walk next door and purchase the product - Or they can decide to purchase the product online
Key drivers for buying online There are many drivers to buying online rather than in-store. One key driver is the perception of value that online gives: Is the price appropriate for the product I am buying? – This is an easy question for the consumer to answer when they can easily check prices in-the-moment.
Secondary, considerations that can be easier to tailor to the consumer’s needs may include: Will I be able to arrange a delivery slot that suits me? Will any ‘old’ product be disposed of? Will the product be installed and is there a charge for all these services?
The focus for retailers has to be on understanding their shopper’s needs and build the foundations of an integrated and personalized consumer experience by aligning first their online and bricks & mortar offer and secondly ensuring that newer touch-points consumers use to research, interact and buy from you, such as tablets and smart-phones, are built into this integrated tailored experience, rather than as bolt-ons that confuse the consumer message.
Find out more about consumer purchase journeys by downloading our article here.