Are things going to slow or speed up in the future?
How are you going to Prepare yourself and business for this change?
Today’s consumers seem to always be digitally connected, blurring the lines between work and play. To reach these always-on consumers, businesses must change their approach.
Over the past fifteen years the retail world has changed beyond all recognition. New technologies have enabled consumers to shop in different ways and have changed the way retailers interact with their customers.
- This change has created many new opportunities and has brought significant benefits. However, it has also made retail a much more complicated and, sometimes confusing, business.
- Look at the devices or technologies that have created the change, exploring the ownership levels of things like tablets and how consumers are using these for shopping.
- The shopping process and how consumers shop across multiple channels.
- How the changed shopping process has altered consumer habits in terms of how and when they buy.
- Communication between retailers and consumers has changed in the connected world, with a particular focus on reviews and recommendations and personalization.
- The implications a connected sector brings for retailers; the purchase pathway and how retailers need to understand it is considered, and we also take a look at how the traditional medium of selling – the store – may be affected.
“The always-on consumer demands convenience,” states the following Cube infographic. “Marketers must be helpful and informative along every step of the way and be able to move mountains without being noticed.”
Consumers also want businesses to recognize them as individuals.
Personalized content, messaging, and offers are a must, according to Cube: “To prove that brands know their customers, marketers need to focus on the things they care about and speak in a voice with which they can relate.”
The vast majority of people now own at least one connected device. While laptops are the most popular device, well over half has a smartphone and almost half has a tablet.
E-readers are relatively less popular but ownership has grown strongly over the past five years to just shy of 27% (up from 12.6% five years ago).
Online shopping has allowed consumers to shop smart – to browse more than they would in real stores, and to visit more retailers than they would on a physical high street.
Indeed, if the amount of browsing done online was translated into a physical shopping trip, we estimate that consumers would work have to walk over 6.8 miles per week to visit the equivalent number of shops.
Aggregated up to all shoppers, this comes out at a huge 198 miles per week.
- Mobile has also enabled consumers to break free of location in terms of where they shop.
- They are no longer confined to stores and desktop computers.
- Around a third of us now shop in our living room.
- Some 15% of us shop at home whilst in bed.
- 2.7% shop whilst commuting to and from work.
Part of shopping smarter means that we are using far more channels and tools across the shopping process as a whole. Indeed, the average consumer now uses just under 5 channels or tools when shopping.
KEY METRICS SHOPPING ONLINE
- One of the main ways in which it has done this is by empowering consumers who can now actively review products they have bought or the service they have received. As this feedback is usually public, being left on retailers’ websites or on social media, it is picked up by other consumers who are researching future purchases.
- 31% of consumers regularly leave reviews or give feedback, with an average of 2.3 reviews written each year. Interestingly the majority of these, 56.7%, are positive, with just over a third being negative.
- Although for some sectors, like food, reviews are not that important to consumers when buying, for others, like electrical s, reviews play a critical part in the purchase process. The average buyer of electrical s reads just over 3 reviews before purchasing a product.
- Reviews are not the only way in which a more connected sector has changed consumer and retailer interaction. Using data gathered from online and mobile has allowed retailers to personalize communications and offers to shoppers. This may take the form of an email that is tailored to take account of what a particular consumer buys or it could be a discount that is focused on a product the retailer knows the shopper will like.
- Personalization is important to retail as it can improve loyalty and stimulate spending.
- Some 56% of consumers say that if a retailer gave them a good personalized experience they would make an effort to use their site more. If this number is worked through it could, ultimately, deliver a 7.8% uplift in sales for an average sized retailer.
Obviously for larger retailers the uplift may be significantly more.
Looking ahead, when it comes to improving the shopping experience, over 50% of consumers agree that connected technology will help to tailor the process still further; just under a third think it will make shopping more personal. Larger numbers still, 70% and 64% respectively, think it will make shopping more convenient and more efficient.
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Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.
Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.
Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.
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