Digital retail trends – It’s not all what you think

Digital Retail Trends – It’s Not All What You Think

by Akhil Mohan

December 23, 2015

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The retail industry has been one of the first to experience the impact of Omnichannel Marketing over the last few years. Like it or not, it has revolutionized the way retail does business forever. And while evolution happens, it’s surprising to find out what really changes and what bucked the trend when we take stock at some junctures.

For example, bet you think retail’s all online now, don’t you? Contrary to popular belief that digital marketing drives traffic only to online sites, retailers saw a steady increase in store traffic in 2014. According to Comscore’s ‘local search’ research, the majority of purchases following a mobile search happened not online, but in a physical store (73%) or on the phone (16%).

Verdict: Digital search is driving more in-store than to eCommerce sites.

 Well now, if in-store is where they’re going, the sales folks on the floor are the busiest, you’d think? Sorry, but the customer’s smartphones are busier, they say. Google’s retail trends show 42% of in-store shoppers search for information online while in-store. For the most part, they’re using search engines (64%). However, almost half of shoppers head to the retailer’s own site or app. Only 30% will look up details from a different retailer’s website or app. Savvy retailers like Sephora and Macy’s are using this to their advantage by placing QR codes near each item and designing their mobile apps for providing relevant information.

Verdict: Your customer’s smartphone is your best in-store salesman

So then, it must be all about giving them that great customer experience to get them into the stores and keep them there, right? Wrong, it seems. Zendesk has drawn some important statistics from their ‘Omnichannel service gap’ research. Over 35% of customers expect to be able to contact the same customer service representative on any channel. 89% of customers get frustrated having to repeat their issues to multiple representatives. 64% of customers expect to receive real-time assistance regardless of the customer service channel they use.

Verdict: Customer service experience is as important as customer shopping experience

Whoa! So, we’re back a full circle to retail and the age-old approach of customer service leading to more sales again? No, they say – wait up. Here’s one last nugget for you to chew on.

Shoppers who buy from a business both IN-STORE and ONLINE, have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. Macy’s has found that customers who visit a store after interacting with the brand ONLINE are 8X more likely to make a purchase than direct store visitors.

 Verdict: Omnichannel customers are more valuable today than only direct store customers.

 Has that flipped some of your notions on their head? Does that confuse or clarify some trends you’ve been observing? Whichever way that goes, put on your thinking hats and let us know what else you make of this at [email protected]