Retailers must deliver better on – and offline experiences or miss out
New research conducted highlights how holiday shopping will be different this year. The survey of 2,000 UK and US consumers reveals how, with 43% of shoppers planning to spend less this holiday season, and 37% spending less in Black Friday sales, retailers will need to provide a multitude of shopping experience options if they are to maximise revenues.
Uncovering how the recent surge to online shopping is more nuanced than previously thought, the Rewriting the rules of engagement report exposes how consumers are using a host of tools to ‘channel hop’ their way to the experiences they want. It also highlights that these changing behaviours are anticipated to stick long-term.
Since the pandemic began, 58% say they shopped online for items that would previously have been purchased in-store. Over a third (36%) also said they had explored the very latest channels available, including shopping by appointment, audio and video personal shopping consultations, and click and collect/kerbside pickup.
Despite all the hype, however, virtual and augmented reality technologies were met with muted enthusiasm by the overwhelming majority of shoppers; just 8% of US consumers had tried out these types of immersive technologies in the past six months.
The research on behalf of JRNI, the experiential relationship management (XRM) platform for scheduling and managing personalised experiences at scale, highlights how the days of spontaneous shopping sprees are becoming a thing of the past. More than half (56%) of UK consumers say they are now far more likely to schedule an appointment to visit a store than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key Findings at a Glance:
- Consumers curate every shopping journey according to their individual needs – and the experiential interactions they want to encounter
- 55% of all consumers prefer shopping for clothes in person, with men (57%) more inclined to prefer browsing in-store to make purchases compared to women (54%)
- When it comes to technology purchases, women were more inclined than men to shop for consumer tech online. Compared to female shoppers, male shoppers were the more likely to enjoy shopping in person for AV and TVs (27% vs 21%) and computer equipment (26% vs 19%).
- Virtual personal shopping consultations proved a hit with consumers in all age groups and scored especially highly with those aged 16-24 (75%), 35-44 (85%), and 45-54 (87%).
- It’s getting personal
- Despite the recent surge in digital and omnichannel adoption, almost half (47%) of consumers say the human-touch aspect represents an integral element of their retail shopping experience – one they increasingly crave, regardless of whether they shop online or in-person.
- So retailers will need to ensure their physical and virtual offerings incorporate more individual service opportunities for consumers, as the lines between the online and in-store experience become increasingly blurred.
- New shopping behaviours are here to stay
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of UK and US consumers say that, given the choice of queuing to enter a location or pre-scheduling an appointment, they would opt to secure an appointment.
- 31% of all consumers want omnichannel options like click and collect and curbside pickup to continue post COVID-19.
- 27% are eager to continue to engage with virtual shopping opportunities and consultations via social media and video beyond the current crisis.
John Federman, CEO at JRNI, commented on the findings, “When budgets are tight, retailers have to work harder to compete for spend. It requires recognizing that consumers are far more advanced and willing to embrace new ways of shopping – on- and offline – than businesses give them credit for. “
“We use phrases like ‘omnichannel’ to describe scenarios as though every consumer wants to move seamlessly across everything a retailer, for example, has to offer. However, we have to turn that idea inside out and remember that for consumers it’s all about experience, and always has been. A consumer will choose the experience they want, based on the service or goods they are buying, and then the channel. The businesses that will be rewarded with brand loyalty are those delivering great experiences in stores and online.”