This post was contributed and sponsored by Criteo.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that many retail conferences this year touted the theme “omnichannel,” with discussions on the need to break down the silos, connect online and offline sources, and finally, create a holistic view of the shopper.
But what else can retailers and brands do? Criteo decided to go directly to the source and get the perspective of nearly 10,000 “omnishoppers” globally on how to improve the in-store and online experience. The Shopper Story reveals that 83% of shoppers in the US and UK now fit the omnichannel description. In Japan, 78% of shoppers use multiple channels and devices to do their browsing and buying.
Most importantly, omnishoppers spend more than other shoppers. So, as another holiday ecommerce season approaches—and a year where “bricks” retail was in radical transformation mode closes—here is what omnishoppers say they want:
1. Load retail websites with as many product details as possible. Regardless of how they end up making purchases, omnishoppers turn to online storefronts and mobile apps first to learn about new products. When they’re finally prepared to buy, the ultimate nudge to make a purchase usually comes from those same retail sites and apps—far more often than word of mouth, search engines, and social media. That means the more information omnishoppers can get from retailers online, the more confident they’ll feel about making that purchase. In highly considered categories like consumer electronics and baby, shopper reviews organized by relevance also play a big role.
2. Make it easy to see—and reliable. The good news is that better product photography and informative product demo videos can be as powerful as discounted prices to entice an omnishopper to purchase from a specific site. Apparel is starting to take off online, and the retailers that are winning have both an editorial approach to how they merchandise clothing, as well as 360-degree product photography. Details like these simplify and enhance the overall shopping experience, paving the way for every shopper to enjoy a more effortless path to purchase.
3. Give me relevance—but respect my need to know. Savvy omnishoppers are more likely to have a favorable attitude towards retargeting. They understand the value exchange between shoppers and brands (that being served more relevant advertising and better deals is made possible with the use of shopping data). But use that information wisely—transparency and consent in advertising practices are crucial.
4. Returns? I want them on my terms. The factors above contribute to lowering costly return rates, but if the shopper does need a replacement, make it easy, and if at all possible, free. In-store returns are a huge benefit to bricks and clicks retailers. There is a reason Kohl’s struck up a deal with Amazon to take their returns: it gets qualified shoppers in store where they are likely to make an impulse purchase.
5. When it comes to real-world retail, HI (human intelligence, nothing artificial about it) counts. Omnishoppers in the US say that convenient location is the most important factor in their decision to shop at a retail storefront. Yet an environment where shoppers can test-drive products and learn from knowledgeable employees were also major influencers. Whether they are “Geeks” or “Geniuses," there is a reason shoppers love stores like Apple and Best Buy.
6. Meet my needs, but help me find products I love. Omnishoppers are seemingly paradoxical in their retail desires. While in the US, 75% of them said that they preferred to do most of their shopping online, 82% said that they enjoyed shopping in real world stores when they had time. There is a reason why so many online retailers are opening stores (and bigger retailer are buying them–think Modcloth, Warby Parker and Bonobos). Shoppers in 2017 want a balance of convenience and efficiency–especially online–combined with the excitement and thrill of discovering new things they not only need but love.
For more insights from this study that was conducted in the US, UK, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan, download our Shopper Story report.