Cyber shopping nets more than the store

With consumers increasingly shopping via tablet and smartphone, over half (55%) of internet shoppers globally say that they now buy online because they get better deals than in-store, a new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) research has revealed.

The Report, ‘Achieving Total Retail: Consumer expectations driving the next retail business model’ shows how retailers need to develop a new, customer-focused business model to deliver on expectations for the store of the future.

Consumers want it all and they want it now. Retailers have to figure out how to meet the expectations of today’s always-on, always-connected shoppers in a profitable way.

Retailers learn

We are seeing an increasing requirement for retailers to transform their businesses, not just by adding more channels, and this is now more than ever being driven by the consumer. The speed in which consumer behaviours are changing is increasing as technology advances become more compelling.

New Zealand consumers also expect retailers to compete in this global shopping environment. With Kiwi shoppers having so many options at the swipe of a finger (either locally or offshore), retailers need to think how they can up their game by doing more to engage customers, connect emotionally and offer a more personalised and enjoyable shopping experience.

Eight Expectations

According to the Report, technologically empowered shoppers have eight expectations. They are as follows:

A compelling brand story that promises a distinctive experience: Shoppers are buying from a smaller number of retailers. By connecting emotionally, and telling a good story, retailers have an enormous opportunity to create loyalty, outside of the actual shopping experience, to pull-in customers.

Customised offers based on totally protected, personal preferences and information: Cyber-security continues to be a major issue, and shoppers demand a personalised retail experience, based on their past purchases. Big data analytics give retailers the ability to offer a customised and more enjoyable shopping experience.

An enhanced and consistent experience across all devices: Online shoppers are slowly but surely embracing a range of devices to shop, but latent functionality issues must be addressed.

Transparency, real time, into a retailer’s inventory: Turning the tables, consumers want to benefit from retailers’ big data capabilities. They want the ability to check other store or online stock availability quickly, access to in-store WiFi, and new ways to pay.

Favourite retails are everywhere: Always-on and connected consumers mean more than open stores or an operational website. It means retailers must be ‘on their game’, open for engagement and interaction in every way the consumer is – social media, email, online shopping, telephone and in-store visits.

To maximise the value of mobile shopping, both store apps and mobile sites must improve: Right now, shoppers are evenly split in their preference for mobile browsers versus apps.

Two-way social media engagement: Modern shoppers do not want to just shop, they want to be heard.

‘Brands’ act as retailers and we will treat them that way: The grey area of overlap between manufacturers and retailers has virtually been extinguished. Shoppers are increasingly willing to bypass retailers and buy directly from manufacturers online.

Social media, big data analytics, improved online functionality and a better mash-up between in-store and online service offerings are the tools at our retailers’ disposal to allow them to compete in this global shopping market.

Paul Brabin is Partner & Digital Market Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, New Zealand

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