Today’s shoppers are smarter than ever. They research products online before they even set foot inside your retail store. They use multiple retail channels interchangeably without so much as a pause for breath, and they are not backward in coming forward when it comes to demanding what they want from a brand and its values.
All of which presents an opportunity to retailers, to engage consumers more effectively than ever before – but they need smart retail technology to help them meet the needs of these new super-savvy shoppers.
Let’s take a look at how retail is changing, and what sets today’s shoppers apart from those that went before them.
They research online before coming into the retail store
Gone are the days when the majority of shoppers came into the retail store as the first step in their decision-making journey. Today, the majority (81%) of shoppers start their purchase journey on a screen, checking out products before they even set foot inside your brick and mortar store.
In the US, 61% of all consumers make their first search on Amazon, with some going on to purchase in a brick and mortar store. Unsurprisingly, nearly half use Google, but growing fastest for shopping research is TikTok, currently used by 11% of shoppers.
They use multiple channels
Shoppers no longer distinguish between online and offline channels – and they expect to be able to use one, the other or both in any given transaction. According to research, 73% of shoppers now use multiple channels for their purchases. They truly are ‘channel blind’ – they engage with a brand, and judge it on their customer experience, whether that is through a large or small screen, on in a retail store.
They care about brand values and want to have a personal connection
Shoppers care who they buy from, and brand values are a principal factor in decision making. In a recent survey, 82% of shoppers indicated that they wanted to purchase from brands whose values align with their own, and 75% said that they had stopped buying from a brand because it didn’t match up with what was important to them.
Consumers want to engage with brands in a much more personalised way, and 74% say they are frustrated when website and other content is not tailored to them. The vast majority (91%) say they are more likely to buy from brands that send them relevant information, offers and promotions, and many would stop buying from those that don’t.
What does this mean for retailers who want to capture these new savvy shoppers? How can they use retail technology to ensure they don’t miss out? Here’s three retail technology approaches for retailers who want to be as smart as their shoppers.
Empowering staff with more information – shoppers have already researched before they come into the retail store, so once they enter, they are close to making their purchase. They often just need one more piece of information to finalise that decision. If retailers can use retail technology to give store staff in the aisles the information the customer needs, they have a higher chance of closing the sale. Equipping staff with mobile pos so they can answer questions and complete the checkout is a sound tactic with today’s savvy shoppers.
Online/offline integration – shoppers want a seamless customer experience whatever channels they use. That means using retail technology to enable omnichannel transactions such as click and collect/buy online and pickup in store (BOPIS); buy online for kerbside pickup; buy online return in store (BORIS). Some shoppers want to buy in store and arrange delivery to their home, or they buy in store and add an upsell product online. The more ‘brick and click’ options you can offer and the more integrated they are, the more likely you are to capture a smart shopper.
Using mobile devices to personalise experiences – shoppers are rarely too far from their mobile devices, and expect to use them to engage with their favourite brands. Retailers can send them personalised types of promotions based on retailer data from a loyalty program, or let them know about in-store specials when they are close to or in the retail store. Using retail technology to directly communicate a message that is just for them will engage the shoppers of today.
Today’s shoppers are a different breed to those of yesteryear. The pandemic has hastened changes that had already started, and accelerated the rise of the smart consumer. In order to capture the attention, spend and loyalty of smart shoppers, stores have to use the best of retail technology and become smart retailers.