Understanding the way in which shoppers spend money and their shopping habits can help merchants meet the ever-changing needs of consumers for business success. We looked through the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Studies from 2017 / 2018 with 2017 comScore data to pull together some key learnings of consumer behavior in mobile, security, omnichannel, and more. These learnings can help retailers already in business stay on top of their game or can be a good reference in how to start a business for those just beginning.
Looking globally, there’s something we all seem to have in common as consumers when it comes to smartphones. That is, consumers are looking up product reviews, reading product details, and comparing prices on mobile devices, according to the 2018 UPS study. The savvy retail shopper is using her or his online research skills to find the very best prices. Keep tabs on what your competition is doing to ensure you can keep the customer and remain competitive.
An area that still needs more consumer buy-in is trusting the smartphone for secure payment processing, says the 2017 UPS study. Thirty-nine percent of those polled cited security concerns as the main reasons why they didn’t use their smartphone to make an in-store purchase, 32% had privacy concerns, and 30% were happy with existing payment options. Twenty-eight percent were not interested in using their mobile device to pay, 17% found it was easier to check-out with a store associate at point of sale, and 15% weren’t familiar with smartphone payment options. Overall, only 28% of smartphone users have used a smartphone to purchase in-store.
Retailers can stay on top of secure payment concerns by making sure they maintain PCI compliance, point of sale systems online and offline, and boldly display for the retail shopper that their shopping cart and transactions are secure. This is something we counsel our clients on all the time here at CardConnect.
Not surprisingly, technology is playing a larger role in filling the shopping cart due to the abundance of research that can be found online, as mentioned above. While some parts of technology catch on more quickly than others, the evolution of the retail shopper is slower in some areas.
Other technologies, like robots, are still a harder sell for customers when it comes to customer service. UPS 2017 study says more than half of consumers in the U.S. and Canada are not convinced of using robots in retail stores. Retail shoppers still want to talk to somebody, and 58% of Americans want to interact with the sales associate when shopping. However, while interacting with an online store, shoppers are comfortable using chat-bots for getting product information and processing orders and returns.
Shoppers still find much needed value in the physical store, notes the 2018 UPS study. They continue to make a large percentage of non-grocery purchases in-store. Canadians have the highest percentage at 58% and Brazil has the lowest percentage of any region at 43%. However, the learning comes in the need for a better in-store experience. The report found satisfaction with in-store shopping is lower than the satisfaction with the overall online shopping experience.
The 2018 UPS report goes on to uncover that 50% of U.S. online shoppers have used the ship-to-store option online in the past year. Only 24% of European shoppers have selected this option over the last year, but more than half of these shoppers plan to use it more often in the future. Retailers may want to review their customer experience from point of sale to post-purchase across all channels to stay convenient and relevant to today’s consumer.
The 2017 UPS report notes consumers don’t view shopping as a single channel or just one touch point with retailers. They very much see the shopping experience as seamless, all in one experience from every channel that they encounter from the retailer. To retailers, this is known as omnichannel retail. Whether it’s a website, mobile app, social media channel, online or physical store, these multichannel shoppers want to be recognized by the retailer no matter what and able to move freely from one point of engagement to another (while remembering their name or shopping preferences). An omnichannel solution provides customers with an accessible, integrated shopping experience at their convenience.
At CardConnect, we see retailers constantly asking for an omnichannel purchasing solution to remain relevant to shoppers. The first step in moving towards this experience is to review your current payments partner and evaluate the platform provided. Is it conducive to the evolved shopper profile? If so, they will offer varied options such as direct integrations, security, and a suite of omnichannel solutions.
These features will allow the tech savvy customer to seamlessly shop their way through any mobile, desktop or tablet device safely. This is an area sure to grow and something many businesses are working on by using solutions that offer a complete integrated solution that facilitates all sales channels to make omnichannel shopping seamless.
The evolution of the retail shopper is still in the process and will always be ever-evolving. It’s certainly an exciting progression. Remember when there was no such thing as Amazon? Customer engagement is high, perhaps because of the 24/7 nature of a marketplace. Nowadays, almost all online shoppers have made a purchase from a marketplace. The top reason cited for choosing to shop at a marketplace is better prices, across all regions. For the U.S., Asia, Canada and Mexico, the second reason is free and discounted shipping.
Consumers really do love to online shop at marketplaces that have everything. Shoppers also use this type of eCommerce business to research a purchase decision. The 2018 UPS report found a higher percentage of online shoppers admit they will research and purchase more on marketplaces in the next year (compared to those who say they will research and purchase less). Consumers are willing to buy internationally if there are better prices available or access to a specific product.
For more on consumer shopping habits, check out the UPS studies, 2017 or the 2018. To get in touch with someone directly about an omnichannel solution that might work for you, complete the short form below.