Almost nine in ten shoppers (87%) now start their search for a new product on digital channels, up from 71% last year, according to new research.
The second annual Shopper-First Retailing report from Salesforce and Publicis.Sapient found that brick-and-mortar stores still play an important role in retail, with 46% of shoppers saying that they prefer to buy in a physical store, while 35% prefer buying via laptops and 18% via mobile phones.
However, 71% of shoppers now use their mobile devices in-store, up from 62% in 2017, and the figure rises to 83% among those aged 18-44. Shopper activities while using a mobile in-store are diverse, ranging from reading reviews to purchasing.
And the report said that retailers need to work harder to provide a better mobile store experience. With a few exceptions, the stores studied for the report lacked mobile CTAs, apps with relevant omnichannel functionalities, and mobile personalisation. Salesforce advised retailers to take better advantage of shoppers’ unprecedented use of mobile in stores by leveraging apps, geofencing, SMS and social media.
Shoppers reward brands that focus on values, personalisation and service, the research revealed.
Values: 45% of shoppers are more likely to buy if the retailer/brand gives a charitable donation with their purchase. Additionally, nine of the top-rated 10 brands in the report’s mystery shopping study had above-average scores in creating an emotional connection.
Personalisation: AI-driven personalisation is a critical tool — 6% of ecommerce visits that include engagement with AI-powered recommendations drive 37% of revenue.
Service: While some shoppers expect direct support, others prefer knowledge bases and self-serve options such as forums and chatbots. Empower customers to find their own answers and they’ll take advantage of it, Salesforce said.