Do shoppers buy your product or leave the store without it?

Digital marketing is changing the shopping world, but is your product being left behind as the old and the new interact in consumers’ shopping processes? With many different points for information gathering and influence along the shopping journey, your marketing may not be as effective as they could be.

We Know that Digital Marketing Is Impacting How Consumers Shop

Let’s look at a few statistics on the current state and impact of mobile/digital and shopping. According to Deloitte Digital, in 2014, 6.5% of retail sales were online, but 93.5% of sales still took place in physical stores. Online sales are growing, but brick and mortar stores are still the destination for most shoppers. While many shoppers will look at products and buy online, 73% of consumers browse products online and then purchase in-store. These shoppers often prefer to touch or try on the product before buying, avoid shipping charges, or take home the product immediately. [Source: FierceRetail]

Many Consumers Shop Retail because They Want To Make the Final Buying Decision in Store

Even when shoppers have planned which category they will buy, the decision of which brand to buy is left until inside the store by 28% of shoppers—and 10% of shoppers will switch brands once inside the store. [Source: OgilvyAction]

Timetrade says that 50% of consumers walking into stores don’t know exactly what they want to buy. These recent statistics reinforce the value of providing good information before and during the shopping trip to help shoppers find and buy your products.

The percentage of shoppers knowing what they will buy prior to entering the store varies across product categories and shopping channels. For example, more than 67% of shoppers in the food and beverage category already know what they want to buy and from where. This compares to an average of 56% across all categories. [Source: Deloitte Digital]

Consumers Are Looking for Information In Store To Make Purchase Decisions

As many consumers enter a store without knowing exactly what they want to buy, they are seeking information in store. Many who do research prior to the shopping trip still look for information in store before making a purchase.

Digital plays a significant role in providing shoppers information that influences the purchase decision. Mobile/Digital use before and during shopping influences 49% of in store retail sales—an impact on $1.7 trillion in sales. This digital influence ranges from 31% for food and beverage to 62% for electronics. Those who use digital while shopping convert at a 20% higher rate versus shoppers who do not use digital as part of a shopping process. [Source: Deloitte Digital]

According to a study by InReality, 75% of store shoppers now use their mobile devices in store. Of these, 25% use their mobile device to make a purchase on their mobile device in store. But the rest use their mobile device to only make in store purchase decisions. Do you make it easy for shoppers to buy your products this way?

Many shoppers do not use their mobile device to shop all product categories. Even if they do, many still cannot find the information they need. The result is a lost shopper and a lost sale. A study by Pierhouse showed that 91% of consumers said they were likely to leave a store without buying anything if they could not find a specific product that they wanted. That same study showed that 62% are likely to leave the store if there is not enough information about the product, and 63% of shoppers are likely to leave if they cannot find the price of the item.

Shoppers also Seek Non-digital Help

In addition to mobile devices, shoppers will look at store displays, packaging, in-store signs to gather information to make a purchase decision. The majority of shoppers want help beyond these options. An Accenture study showed that 61% of the consumers surveyed in the US, UK, France, and Germany shared that they still value asking a sales associate for product recommendations.

The challenge is that many retailers no longer provide enough knowledgeable help to quickly answer questions for shoppers. A timetrade study showed that 93% of today’s shoppers cannot find the right person to help them when they shop. When they can’t, 90% of shoppers leave without purchasing anything. The flip side is that 85% buy more when helped by a knowledgeable associate.

Some consumers do prefer digital shopping versus asking a sales associate for help. A recent Consumer Electronics Association study showed 58% of shoppers preferred to look up information on their mobile devices while shopping rather than talk to an in store employee. This was especially true among shoppers between the ages of 25 and 44 and among men.

Given a lack of knowledgeable help in store, shoppers are turning to digital solutions. Some stores have engaged the mobile shopping trend and provide digital apps and online assistance to help shoppers on their digital device. Others have just left a gap with no digital tools and limited service that is leading to lost sales and dissatisfied shoppers.

As the digital and traditional retail worlds continue to integrate with each other, what can you do to help ensure consumers buy your products?

What Can Be Done —Retailers? Invest in Customer Service—Digital or Human

Retailers are under pressure to control costs while evolving their overall shopper experience. Often this means a trade off between investing in new technology and current staffing models. Here are some actions to help engage and support the shoppers of today:

  • Improve your website, app, and social media to allow for seamless information gathering before and during the shopping process.
  • Offer consumer reviews and recommendations on your website. Consumers place a high emphasis in this source of consumer information prior to purchasing.
  • If you do not have one, consider offering a shopping app to aid your shoppers.
  • Offering free Wi-Fi in-store allows retailers to have shoppers more effectively search online.
  • Make sure your website is built with a responsive design to ensure it is easy to use on all mobile devices.
  • Educate your employees on your products and how to assist in the purchase decision.
  • If staffing models allow, have store associates walk shoppers to the desired product and help them reach a purchase decision.

What Can Be Done—Brands? Balance Old and New Technologies To Improve the Likelihood of Purchase

  • Make the shopper experience for your brands seamless—allow consumers to learn about your products on social media, your website, retailer websites, and in store. Integrate your digital communication for smooth interaction and easy information search across platforms before and during shopping.
  • Make sure your website is built with a responsive design to ensure it is easy to use on all mobile devices.
  • Double check your products on leading retailer websites to ensure that the information there is correct and complete.
  • Use social media to highlight your products and make it easy to purchase your products by shoppers using your social media platforms.
  • Make sure your product has a logical shelf placement in leading retailers so it is easy for shoppers to find.
  • Work to make sure retailer ads and signs not only list your price but also highlight a product benefit.
  • Budget and retailer permitting, highlight your products with point of sale signs. Products that have a sign that tells a story and the product benefit are more attractive to shoppers. Do you buy wine just from the price tag or do you also read the rating and review tags below the price before selecting a bottle?
  • Often your packaging is your only in store communication. Review your packaging graphics and copy to ensure it stands out on the shelf, clearly communicates your product’s key differentiating benefits, who should buy the product, and directions for use.
  • If you have not already, invest in a product ratings and review service such as Bazaarvoice or PowerReviews. They can not only add these important consumer reviews to your website, but also can push the reviews onto leading retailer websites where your product is sold. A great review that shoppers can find might make the difference between selling your product or your competitor’s.