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Shops will be showrooms by 2020: research

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Consumers expect that a seamless cross-channel shopping experience will be commonplace by 2014, and believe that by 2020 shops will simply be showrooms where they can choose and order products, according to new research.

But while they are looking forward to personalised purchasing on websites that remember their shopping history, they don’t currently want to be recognised by their smartphone when they enter a shop.

The predictions are part of Capgemini’s Digital Shopper Relevancy report, published today. The report quizzed 16,000 consumers from 16 mature and developing markets looking for insights into the way shoppers will use the internet and other technologies in the future.

It found that shoppers were not loyal to one sales channel over another, with 60% predicting that retail channels would converge by 2014. At the moment the internet is the dominant channel for this group of digital shoppers, who said that websites were the most important part of their shopping journey. Some 80% of consumers in developing markets said the internet was important or very important, compared with 63% in mature markets. Email was seen as the second-most important part of their shopping journey, while social media, mobile apps and in-store kiosks were all growing in importance.

Digital shopping is growing faster in developing markets, the study found. Some 72% of Indian, and 69% of Chinese, respondents said they buy more in a single online transaction than in physical stores. That compares to 31% in the US. Meanwhile, more than half of digital shoppers from all of the markets examined predicted that physical stores in a widening range of categories would evolve to become showrooms for consumers to choose and order goods – such as the pictured Bodum store in Paris.

Some 56% said that if they had researched online they would spend more in a physical store, while 73% expected online prices to be lower.

Elsewhere the research also found that some 43% of UK digital shoppers have bought food online, more than double the rate of their German counterparts. And 61% said they want online stores to remember their personal shopper history to speed up shopping, however only 41 percent would want to be identified through smartphones when entering a physical store.

James Roper, chief executive of IMRG, the UK’s industry association for e-retai, said: “That e-commerce is continuing to secure its position as a key part of any developed economy is already understood, but its role in developing economies is probably less well known. From our own extensive international research we see the remarkable opportunities for cross-border growth in regions such as Asia and South America, where e-commerce is experiencing a different evolution to that in Europe and North America. As the traditional IT infrastructure was not necessarily there, digital commerce in these regions tends to be going straight onto the mobile platform.”

“In today’s complex marketplace shoppers are in control and retailers need to remain relevant to the digital consumer across the all-channel journey.” said Bernard Helders, Capgemini global consumer products and retail sector leader. “The industry should not only seek to understand the technology, they must separate hype from reality and, crucially, commit to cross-channel collaboration to stay profitable in today’s tough economic climate. This is critical for retailers to identify who is really using these channels and essential in determining where to make digital investments and how to monetize them. The findings of the report are a call to action for retailers and consumer goods companies to adopt a new approach and harness the technology that’s now available.”

The Capgemini research identified six emerging and distinct types of shoppers

Social Digital Shoppers (25% of total respondent base)

The majority of these shoppers are under 35, are heavy users of social media and want to share opinions and experiences through digital channels. They are also active users of mobile applications and trust mobile devices for paying for products, locating items and identifying themselves.

Digital Shopaholics (18%)

Early adopters and experimenters; they are the heaviest buyers out of the six segments through the active use of digital channels and devices like smartphone apps and in-store technology. Although men in this segment shop heavily via digital channels, they are less interested than women are in conducting any kind of two-way dialogue with companies.

Occasional Online Shoppers (16%)

56% of these shoppers are older than 45 and infrequently shop online. When they do, these shoppers use digital channels primarily for choosing and comparing products and tracking deliveries.

Rational Online Shoppers (15%)

Overall, these shoppers are the second most active online shopper segment and the Internet is the preferred channel throughout the shopping journey. However, these respondents have little interest in social media and mobile apps for shopping.

Value Seekers (13%)

These shoppers are price-sensitive with little interest in digital shopping and new technologies and are more likely to be women (63 percent). They shop online primarily to find the best deals on products they know they want.

Techno-Shy Shoppers (13%)

This segment does not feel confident in using digital channels and devices and do not see these as important during any phase of the shopping journey. These shoppers include both young and older consumers, with many living in Continental Europe

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