The recent surge towards online shopping has drastically altered the shopping landscape for retailers and consumers alike. The convenience of purchasing from anywhere, particularly the comfort of your own home, has left retailers scrambling to find ways to increase foot-traffic to in-store registers. Has the feared death of brick-and-mortar shopping arrived?
According to Citizen Tech, a North American study commissioned by Citizen Relations and powered by Vision Critical’s Customer Intelligence Platform, retailers, particularly those in the technology sector can lower their tensions. Twice as many Americans say they are webrooming, comparing products online and purchasing them at retail (64 percent), rather than the much-hyped showrooming (32 percent), which is the reverse comparing products in-store but buying online.
Most interesting, the study has illustrated that a hybrid shopping behavior has emerged. While in the technology aisles of a store more than 15 percent of shoppers are using their mobile device to comparison shop, leveraging their on-the-spot research to gauge a better deal, which Citizen Relations has now coined ‘mob-aisling™’ (pronounced mo-bīl-ing).
Mob-aisling™ highlights a tremendous opportunity for retailers to engage with consumers, simplify the purchasing process, whether that’s in-store or online, and capitalize on this trend. Surveyed Americans confirmed that they prefer buying at traditional retail locations because it’s important to them to see and feel the product (61 percent) before they buy. Furthermore, as much as online shopping can be convenient, many don’t want to pay shipping fees (47 percent) and would rather have the item immediately (46 percent).
Conversely, tech-savvy purchasers who actively ‘mob-aisle’ have been reaping the benefits of their actions noting that they were four times more likely to score a better deal in-store (53 percent).
So what does this mean and why does it matter? Where we thought that technology was going to triumph and put to bed the favored past time of shopping in-store, there appears to be a synergy where both worlds now co-exist. It is important that brands and retailers take notice of this trend and ensure that efforts are not entirely unilaterally focused. Understanding how technology consumers interact, engage, learn and get inspired to purchase is a core mission for brand marketers and communicators.
Stay tuned for Phase Two of Citizen Tech. We’ll be focusing on consumers’ post-purchase attitudes and behaviors.
Erin Georgieff is a Managing Director of Citizen Relations’ U.S. consumer technology practice.