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Retail PR: How Connected Consumers are Shopping—and How Marketers Can Leverage New Tech-Savvy Shopping Habits

Consumers Harness Connected Technologies on the Path to Purchase

The retail marketplace is in a state of hyper-evolution—customers are on the move and developing more beneficial shopping patterns than ever before by harnessing connected technologies to simplify and optimize the purchasing process. New shopper research from incentives and engagement company Blackhawk Engagement Solutions explores the ways that consumers pre-shop, discover and filter options, as well as the devices they use and their influences along the multiple paths to purchase—and the many ways retailers and marketers can disrupt those paths.

“Gone are the days of retailers only worrying about keeping up with their competitors—today, the key to winning at retail is keeping up with your customers,” said Rodney Mason, GVP of marketing at Blackhawk, in a news release. “By charting where shoppers are landing as they explore new shopping territories, retail marketers can position their businesses in front of the competition and closer to targeted and underserved customers.”

Key findings from the shopper survey include:

  • Connected shopping habits emerge: The smartphone is the most prevalent Internet device, with 71 percent of shoppers using one daily (followed by laptop, 66 percent; desktop computer, 50 percent; and tablet, 43 percent). Additionally, TV watching and Internet shopping are closely linked. Fifty-eight percent of consumers shop at home while watching TV, and 47 percent of consumers learn about products, special sales and shopping news on TV. Finally, shopping at work is significant. Thirty-seven percent of consumers admit to shopping while at work. Overall, 4-9 p.m. is the peak time for online shopping.
  • Mobile changes how customers shop online and in-store: Showrooming is now an ingrained behavior, with 19 percent of shoppers reporting that they purchase competitors’products on their smartphones while standing in store. The first places shoppers go to compare prices on their phones are Amazon (38 percent), Google (32 percent) and retail websites (17 percent). Forty percent of shoppers use phone cameras to demo, compare and share products they find in store.
  • Consumers want proximity-based offers: Sixty-three percent of shoppers would consider allowing retailers to send offers to their smartphones based on where they are in-store; fifty-nine percent would consider allowing retailers to know who they are and where they are in store in exchange for special values and savings.
  • Social media underutilized in retail: Marketers and retailers can and should leverage social media to drive promotions, especially since access to special deals is the primary reason shoppers follow brands on social media. Forty-two percent of consumers have used special promotions they found on social media and 89 percent of shoppers that follow brands want special offers from those brands.
  • Email dominates in digital promo delivery, but social is making strides: When it comes to taking advantage of promotional offers, the digital delivery method most used is email (73 percent), followed by social media (42 percent), text (37 percent) and shopping apps (36 percent). However, connecting seamlessly across in-store and online is still imperfect. Thirty-seven percent of shoppers have experienced in-store redemption problems with text promotions and 35 percent have experienced problems with email promotions.
  • Mobile price match and BOPIS are effective, disruptive retail strategies: Just $5 in savings on a $50 product can tip the scales in favor of an online competitor. However, the majority of consumers will buy at a physical store that matches online prices with price-match rebates. Also, 86 percent of shoppers would consider buying online and picking up in store to save $10 on a $50 item. (Buying online and picking up in store, or BOPIS, reduces shipping costs for retailers and gets the customer in the physical store where they can purchase more.)
  • Growing interest in mobile wallets: Fifty-four percent of all shoppers are likely to use a mobile wallet over a traditional wallet if it is accepted everywhere. 20 percent would stop carrying a traditional wallet altogether if mobile payments were accepted everywhere and mobile ID was accepted in place of traditional ID.

Blackhawk surveyed more than 2,500 respondents for this study. Download the complete report here.

Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel

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