As Consumers Get Digital, Retailers Find New Ways to Connect

Earlier this year, Cisco Consulting Services issued the findings of their 4th annual consumer behavior research study. Their discoveries speak volumes for the digitization of the retail industry and growing customer demand for in-store services. Not surprisingly, the report found that the number of customers who are digitally connected during the retail experience has nearly doubled, confirming the trend towards customers expecting a more seamless connection between their online and in-store user experiences.

The research divides their online shopper survey participants into two camps, the Digital Mass Market, who are users that regularly use the internet during shopping, and Uber Digitals, the more keen technology user and an individual who regularly shops via their mobile device.

Here are four major highlights and insights from their study:

  • Seventy percent of uber digital consumers are beginning their retail journey online. If omnichannel retailing is available, sales are coming through the funnel via mobile devices and the internet seven out of ten times.

  • When customers are debating making a purchasing decision, online sources are the most trusted. Sixty-three percent of shoppers cite that online ratings and reviews are their go-to source for information, as opposed to only twelve percent citing the help of in-store retail associates and salespeople.

  • Six out of ten of the Uber Digital consumers reported that they “showroom”, an increasingly popular behaviour where customers use brick and mortar stores as a place to browse and compare, and then returning home to make the purchase online. 

  • Lastly, the survey had users generate a list of demanded connected retail services. Among them include, gamification of the shopping experience, online consultations or advice from product and style specialists, and automated in-store pick up via online orders and purchases.

These finding are interesting when reviewed alongside our own Retail Services Innovation Report published last month, in which we analyse how the top 20 retailers are using their digital channels to drive in-store engagement and offering in-store services to offer something that amazon can’t.

In light of the findings of both reports, it’s clearly becoming ever more important for retailers to make sure they are catering to their increasingly tech-savvy customers and a trend for all involved in retail to monitor closely over the coming months and years.

Here’s another link to the full Cisco Digital Shopping Behavior Report, and another link to download our own Retail Services Innovation Report.