31% of UK shoppers research in-store before making purchase online: report

In order to thrive in the modern age of multichannel retailing brands have to be aware of the relationship between their offline and online sales channels.

Smart retailers such as John Lewis, B&Q and Marks & Spencer already partly attribute online sales to their brick-and-mortar stores as it’s naive to think that people buying through ecommerce haven’t been in-store for product research at some point.

A survey published by eBay gives a new insight into the relationship between offline and online retail by asking respondents about the channels they used to research a specific purchase.

In both the UK and Germany around a third of consumers used multiple channels during their purchase journey, including 31% of consumers who visited a store before buying online and 34% of consumers who did online research before a recent in-store purchase.

What is the state of digital retail in London?

How is the world’s shopping capital using mobile and digital experiences to engage customers in-store?

I’ve previously written about window displays on Regent Street, but that was a scanty survey. Eccomplished has released some more in-depth research into select stores on Oxford Street and Regent Street in London.

Factors such as signage, interactive media, WiFi, mobile interaction and store layout were surveyed in 40 leading retail outlets by a team of researchers.

Shoppers were also canvassed with the aim of ascertaining whether or not digital in-store offers brands the opportunity to stand out. So, how well are stores implementing technology and is there a gap between best practice and reality?

Connected retail: the future of the high street

The speed with which new technologies are being adopted by consumers is breathtaking. The use of tablets and mobile is unprecedented.

New customer touch points have burst onto the scene, leaving retailers struggling to decide where to prioritise their marketing and digital spend: should the focus be on websites, stores or mobile?

West End retailers slow to adopt in-store technology: stats

Retailers in London’s Oxford Street and Regent Street have been relatively slow to emply digital technology to improve the in-store experience for customers, so says a new study.

Tech provider Omnico has carried out a survey more than 90 retailers for uses of 17 different technologies, including reserve and collect, wi-fi, kiosks, iPads and more. 

The retailers studied are using an average of two technologies, while 30% of retailers don’t use any at all. 

Web technology has a big part to play in the future of the high street, so who’s using what? 

Evans Cycles on the key drivers for multichannel shopping

Will Lockie is Multichannel Head at Evans Cycles, responsible for helping a 90 year old retail brand bridge the gap between online and offline. 

He’ll be presenting at our JUMP event on October 9, on the subject of identifyng drivers for multichannel shopping behaviour to improve multichannel experience. 

Here, Will talks about the company’s approach to multichannel retail, the value of a physical presence, click and collect, using QR codes and more…

Is showrooming really a myth?

A new report from Verdict, reported here, labels ‘showrooming’ as a myth, basing this on the finding that only 2% of respondents had bought an item online while at a retailer’s store. 

I’m not convinced, having seen plenty of evidence of the growing use of mobiles when shopping offline, whether to purchase there and then or to check prices from rival retailers. 

So is it a myth? Let’s have a look at the evidence…

Why are people showrooming and how should retailers respond?

Many retailers are understandably worried about shoppers using their mobiles to compare prices and the threat posed by online-only retailers, which can often beat offline prices. 

However, there is much to be learned about the motivation of mobile shoppers. It seems some intend to buy online no matter what but there is potential for shops to turn others around with great in-store experiences, discounts and rewards. 

Columbia Business School and Aimia have just produced a report on showrooming, which contains some useful stats.

Here’s a selection from the report, along with a few of our suggestions for retailers to deal with the ‘threat’ of showrooming.  

Showrooming is on the rise: stats

More and more consumers are using their mobiles for ‘showrooming’, checking prices and product information while shopping in stores. 

According to JiWire’s Mobile Audience Insights Report for Q2 2013, there has been a 25% increase in the use of mobiles in retail stores, which has significant implications for retailers. 

The report also looks at the use of wi-fi by smartphone users, finding that more and more are online via public wi-fi. 

63% of smartphone owners use their device to search for information while shopping

More than half (57%) of smartphone owners have used their device to search for information while out shopping, according to data from our new Mobile Commerce Compendium.

The most common smartphone activity was comparing prices (63%) with other retailers, followed by looking for a discount voucher online (42%) and looking for product information or other options on a different retailer’s website (34%).

This raises a difficult dilemma for retailers, as the natural urge is to try and prevent customers from shopping at their competitors using the mobile web but in reality it’s impossible to prevent people from doing it.

Five examples of how to drive consumer loyalty via mobile

Loyalty schemes are big business. You only have to look at Tesco’s Clubcard, Boots Advantage and Nectar points to see how effective they are at drawing consumers in and creating brand loyalty on the high street.

But looking around the globe traditional loyalty models are being taken on by the mobile revolution. Brands using their mobile channel to target engaged consumers and deliver smarter, personalised deals are giving traditional routes a run for their money.

Fiddling about with coupons and cut-out offers at the till will soon be a thing of the past. Brands that have harnessed marketing to mobile, enhanced by mobile payment solutions, will smooth the way when it comes to redeeming offers at the point of paying.