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Shoppers embrace omnichannel, with many using phones in-store

Mobile is now key to retail growth

Almost three quarters of UK shoppers prefer omnichannel shopping, with almost two thirds using their smartphone in-store – putting the onus on retailers to look at how to engage and delight shoppers in new ways, a study shows.

Research, based on a survey of more than 6,000 global shoppers and over 400 retailers carried out by Bazaarvoice, finds that the line between online and offline shopping continues to blur and become more fractured. Most consumers seek out multiple touchpoints towards a purchase decision.

The study finds that 70% of shoppers prefer a hybrid of both in-store and online, 20% in-store and 10% online. Both online (63%) and in-store (45%) shoppers conduct research online prior to purchasing. Within this, they are using mobile to go online in store to look at price comparisons (66%), product reviews (62%), advice from friends/family (31%), and product demos (25%).

Age, however, plays a significant role. Globally of those aged 25-34, three quarters enjoy a hybrid of shopping methods (75%), but for those aged 65+ only just over half (56%) 

Consumer influence

Shoppers, through user-generated content, influence other shoppers at all stages in the purchase journey, with social media playing an increasingly important role in discovery, research and conversion. Product reviews (54%) and written reviews (49%) from verified buyers are two of the top types of content shoppers look for when researching products online, only beaten by price comparisons (56%).

A quarter (26%) use social media to research products, and when purchasing via social it is mostly from Facebook shops (44%), via ads on Instagram (38%) and via influencers’ Instagram stories (37%).

After seeing a product online, 75% are more likely to go in-store when it has a high price, 49% say to check the quality, and 42% said to get instant ownership.

“Consumers are savvier than ever before, researching products before buying them using every touchpoint available, making shopping less segmented than ever,” says Zarina Lam Stanford, Bazaarvoice CMO. “This allows businesses to utilise the voice of the consumer to their advantage. Providing it online, on social media, and even in-store, presents the research materials that shoppers crave no matter where they are.”

Ed Hill, SVP EMEA, Bazaarvoice adds: “In a constantly online world, the accessibility of information online has made both online and in-store shopping a much more seamless experience but one which requires a proactive and careful approach from sellers. To meet the demands of consumers, brands and retailers must offer a robust collection of UGC across all platforms. Even better, with over a quarter of shoppers now researching on the go, implementing UGC in in-store promotions and virtual displays can truly connect both worlds. By making it easy for shoppers to learn more about a product, through whichever channel they prefer, brands and retailers will be much better positioned to close the sale.”

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