Consumers love to be mobile when shopping

 

Today’s retail consumers love to mix technology and in-store visits, especially when it comes to big purchases and conduct product research online while in a retail location.

The insight, from a new Forbes Insights report conducted with Synchrony Financial, reveals nearly half of 250 retailers polled are seeing customers eager for the omnichannel shopping experience. But the shoppers doing online research prefer to make the actual purchase in the store, according to 46 percent of surveyed retailers.

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«Customers do their homework for major purchases, and that’s easiest online,» said Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer and head of the CMO practice at Forbes Media. «But when it comes to the actual purchase, they like to do it in person.»

«A major purchase is a commitment for many consumers. Having that personable and knowledgeable sales associate is important. Successful retailers bridge the online to in-store engagement, creating a frictionless experience,» stated Toni White, CMO of Synchrony Financial.

Other key findings include:

Most retailers surveyed (83 percent) are positive about the economy and customers’ spending power for the next two years. At the same time, customers have become more responsible about making major purchases than they were two years ago, according to 28 percent of retailers. Thirty-six percent of retailers think customers are more open this year to making a major purchase. Home improvement retailers are the most optimistic, with 40 percent of them saying they expect more major purchases.

Almost half of survey respondents (45 percent) consider closing the sale for a major purchase online as a challenge. There are several reasons for this, some connected to the availability of financing online. Moreover, 84 percent of retailers say that customer financing is important to them, citing increased customer spend or loyalty. In fact, 40 percent say it is «more true this year than last year» that their customers will be likely to use financing to make their major purchase.

While 73 percent of retailers say omnichannel is important to them, only 38 percent say they are past the beginning stages of their omnichannel journey. Automotive parts retailers are the least advanced, with 17 percent past the beginning stages; and outdoor and sports equipment retailers are the most advanced, with 66 percent either midway or fully omnichannel.

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According to retailers, most customers, 82 percent, conduct research online. A third of survey respondents believe that their website draws customers to the stores. But this does not eliminate the need for sales associates who can act as experts. In fact, friendly and helpful associates are the biggest reason for in-store visits (cited by 38 percent of respondents).

Source: Retail Customer Experience


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