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How the way we shop is changing: Nielsen and Capgemini studies

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More than half of Britons (56%) say they research their purchases online before buying in a shop, while four in 10 (43%) check out products in a shop before buying online, according to new research.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Ecommerce, which surveyed more than 30,000 internet users in 60 countries, found Britons were almost 40% more likely to shop online than Europeans as a whole.

But 34% said they didn’t like buying online because of the cost of delivery, while 29% don’t like sharing their credit card details online. A significant minority (24%) said they often found shopping sites very confusing.

Half (50%) of Britons said they spent time researching online before they bought – 54% said they read online reviews while 18% used social media to help them decide. The use of social media, however, was lower than the European average at 33%.

Some 76% used computers for shopping ahead of mobiles (25%) and tablets (24%). Twenty per cent used price-saving apps or websites and 16% used such apps in a shop. In all, 59% of Britons used the internet to get the best price.

““The way people navigate between shops and the internet to buy isn’t consistent,” said Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. “For some, the internet is simply the checkout, for others it plays a fundamental role in what to buy, from whom and whether to do so online or in-store. For the same person, this behaviour could differ between products. The proliferation of devices simply adds to the complexity.”

He said UK shoppers needed more reassuring security features to improve confidence, and easier navigation and presentation. Free delivery should also be considered, he said.

The study also found motor products, computer equipment and ebooks were the fastest growing ecommerce products, while clothes, hotel rooms and airline tickets were the most frequently bought.

The study came on the same day as Capgemini research suggested that social media was now a less important part of the customer journey than it was two years ago.

The Digital Shopper Relevancy Report questioned more than 18,000 online shoppers from 18 countries. It found that while social media had not only declined in importance over the last two years but was also less important than the store (rated important or very important by 72% of shoppers), the internet (67%), smartphones, email or in-store technology.

But while only 14% of shoppers say physical stores have become less important for them over the last two years, 51% say that in the future they will spend more online than in-store. Significantly, 72% agreed or strongly agreed with the proposition that the online price would be lower than in-store or catalogues. Some 65% also expected the option of ordering direct from the brand would grow in coming years.

Kees Jacobs, global digital proposition lead at Capgemini Digital Customer Experience, said: “Despite the surge in Facebook’s ad revenues and marketing innovations like Twitter’s new Buy button, there is definitely a question mark over where and how ‘social’ fits into the shopper journey. Social media is most relevant in the ‘awareness’ and ‘choice’ phases of shopping journeys (which is especially the case in fashion) but much less in ‘transaction, delivery and post-sales’. Our report suggests that retailers still have work to do at every stage of the purchasing journey in order to make social media play a useful, valuable role in buying a product or service.”

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