Shoppers around the world now expect omnichannel, multi-screen experiences from brands and retailers, with the average consumer using a total of five devices when making a purchase – a significant increase from the 2.8 devices reported in 2014. This is according to DigitasLBi’s 2015 Connected Commerce study of the latest retail trends across 17 countries including India, Australia, Japan, China, the UK and the USA.
The new connected consumer
Along with computers, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs, consumers are rapidly embracing wearable technologies, with 17 per cent of shoppers revealing that they now own a wearable device – a figure that is likely to rise with the launch of Apple Watch and similar devices with the potential to offer new in-store experiences. On an average, Indians use 6 smart devices, as compared to 5 in western countries.
DigitasLBi’s Connected Commerce study also shows that in 2015 Indian shoppers are increasingly comfortable going beyond the traditional ecommerce experience to embrace mobile commerce with 30 per cent votes and shopping via tablets with 10 per cent favour in its kitty.In fact, 89 per cent of the Indian population prefers to search across multiple devices, amongst which 67 per cent prefer making purchases through smartphones.
Products and services that allow this new breed of connected consumer to act on impulse are also proving popular. The survey shows that in-store pick-up is becoming a particular favourite of shoppers, with 51 per cent taking advantage of ‘click and collect’ services globally, a trend yet to pick up in India.
“Customers want to save time and money whilst being able to choose from more ways to shop than ever before. Mobile is increasingly becoming the platform of choice for bargain hunters on the go, with 80 per cent of those surveyed globally now use smartphones whilst in-store. A further 68 per cent of consumers claim that smartphones have changed the way they shop altogether,” said Jim Herbert, Managing Partner of DigitasLBi Commerce, the connected commerce division of DigitasLBi.
“We also know that 62 per cent of smartphone users would be happy to use their devices to pay in-store. With the launch of Apple Pay in US and the growing number of start-ups in the in-store payment arena, 2015 could be the year of mobile payment. Brands and retailers would be wise to take note of the fact that mobile is set to fundamentally change the retail experience,” he added.
Personalisation is key driver to online and offline sales
According to DigitasLBi’s Connected Commerce survey, personalising the shopping experience is the surest way to get to the consumer’s pocket. In India, 58 per cent of respondents claim they buy more and/or more often when met with personalised retail experiences. A further 28 per cent actively look for personalised offers when shopping online and 80 per cent log in to ecommerce websites that cater for their personal preferences based on previous behaviour (40 per cent) or to get product personalisation (38 per cent).
The demand for personalisation goes beyond the online experience, with 70 per cent of shoppers around the world admitting they are more likely to embrace new in-store technologies such as GPS and WiFi tracking if they receive customised benefits in return, such as personalised money-off vouchers.
“The bricks-and-mortar store is going from strength to strength and behind retailer websites and apps has become the second most preferred point of information for customers”, said Mr Herbert. “However, the in-store experience needs to become more agile, more digital and more connected. Retailers need to get smarter about using data in order to personalise the shopping experience to increase sales performance,” he further added.
The continued rise of social
DigitasLBi’s Connected Commerce study shows that social media is influencing an increasing number of purchases both on and off-line in India. Overall Facebook is leading the way with more than half i.e. 56 per cent of users now admitting that the social network impacts the way they shop. This compares to 48 per cent for YouTube, 42 per cent for Google+ and 41 per cent for Twitter.
Social shopping is also rapidly gaining traction, with 28 per cent of social network users around the world claiming to have purchased an item directly via a social media platform. India ranks second in terms of social shopping with 55 per cent of respondents now buying through social sites. Other social elements such as online reviews are also gaining importance in the purchasing process: 74 per cent of shoppers read them when buying online and 35 per cent when shopping in-store.
“We are thrilled to have India as a part of the Connected Commerce study for the first time this year. We now have a data driven understanding about how networked devices are transforming the Indian customer’s shopping journey. The findings will help make educated decisions for omnichannel strategies,” said Amaresh Godbole, Managing Director of DigitasLBi India.
“For instance we now know that Facebook and YouTube genuinely influence purchase decisions online and in-store, personalisation fuels increase in purchases, smartphone payments are preferred and friends and family emerge as top purchase influencers followed by professionals and online reviews. Viewed holistically, these are building blocks which can come together for an effective strategy,” Mr Godbole added.