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UK a nation of omnishoppers, keen to use stores alongside online: study

The UK is a nation of “omnishoppers”, with 83% buying both online and offline, new analysis suggests.

The proportion of shoppers who buy online and offline is matched by the US (also 83%), and followed by Brazil (79%), France and Japan (both 78%), according to Criteo’s The Shopper Story 2017 report. While omnishopping can take place through various approaches, from showrooming to researching online before buying in the store, the study found that click and collect was the most commonly used service, adopted by 28% regularly and 60% on occasion. That was followed by browsing online before buying in a store (25% regularly and 63% on occasion).

Many like to buy in a store, but find they don’t have the time. The study questioned 10,000 shoppers from six countries including the UK. Some 74% of the 1,515 UK respondents who took part said they looked forward to shopping in stores, when they had the time – but 72% preferred to do as much online shopping as they could.

Factors that made it more likely that UK users would shop in a store included a convenient location (55%), the fact they needed an item immediately (45%), the availability of in-store offers (45%), and knowledgeable sale staff (39%). Some 10% said they would like the ability to check out from their phone, while 57% of consumers used their phone while in-store to research products.

Retail websites and apps – rather than word of mouth – are driving both consumer awareness and sales for retailers across all sectors in the UK, the report also found, with 80% of shoppers, on average, first learning about new products through retail websites and apps, compared to the 43% who learn through friends and family. These digital touchpoints also proved the most effective means for shoppers to learn more about products, and were the most common final influencers on product purchasing.

This trend is set to continue, with 50% of respondents stating that retailer websites and apps are increasing in influence, compared to 38% for word of mouth, demonstrating, says Criteo, that these platforms represent a key opportunity for retailers to maximise conversions, even more than search engines. Some 80% of shoppers with a high purchase intent start their search on retail sites when they are looking for a product rather than a traditional search engine.

“Our Shopper Story study points to a clear shift in consumer behaviour as websites and apps become increasingly essential recommendation engines,” said Paul Dahill, head of brand and agency at Criteo Sponsored Products. “The omnishoppers’ path to purchase further reinforces the need for brands and retailers invest in digital across their operations to ensure that they are capturing consumers where decisions are actually made. While word of mouth will continue to play an important role, the omnishopper clearly sees apps and websites as the first port of discovery, exceeding even traditional search engines.”

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