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ForeSee exec: Multichannel shoppers are power users

During the “Managing Forward: Analytics to Understand the Multi-Channel and Multi-Device Customer” session, the executive spoke about how consumers are increasingly using multiple devices and mediums to shop. Therefore, it is critical that retailers and marketers use cross-platform analytics to get a firm grasp on how satisfied consumers are with their shopping experience.

“The consumer experience today is more important than it has ever been before, and that’s really critical in how you think about all the different channels that we have, all the different ways that consumers interact with our organizations,” said Larry Freed, president/CEO of ForeSee, Ann Arbor, MI.

“The consumer is a multichannel, multi-device consumer and they have power that they have never had before – they are in control,” he said. “They have the power – you better satisfy their needs and exceed their expectations or they are going to go elsewhere.”

Multichannel shoppers
With a plethora of information and access at their fingertips, consumers today are more educated about their shopping experiences than ever.

In addition to different channels that consumers are shopping through, there are also a slew of different devices that consumers use.

For example, consumers can begin a shopping experience on a smartphone, but finish the transaction on a computer.

However, marketers are using single-channel analytics, such as how many consumers walk into a store or Web traffic to measure their results. By only looking at one channel, retailers may be missing out on a big piece of measurement to get a better understanding of a multichannel shopper.

“If you think about the customer service analytics where you can talk to people and understand what they are thinking, we can understand what their prior experiences were,” Mr. Freed said.

“It gives us the opportunity to understand the consumer and really know what they are trying to accomplish,” he said.

“When consumers have choice, they will go where they are satisfied.”

Social media also impacts how consumers share information about a brand, whether it is a good or bad thing. Biased feedback tends to be negative compared to positive. The majority of feedback is often ignored though.

Mobile research
ForeSee recently looked at approximately 40,000 surveys during the holiday season that asked consumers questions about their shopping experience, whether in-store or through mobile.

Forty-three percent of in-store shoppers said that they preferred to research and buy in-store.

With Web shoppers, 74 percent of users that came to a site said that they came to a site to buy.

Mobile shoppers rank highest in terms of satisfaction.

Forty-three percent of the mobile shoppers surveyed said that their preference was to research on their device and buy in-store, which is a big opportunity for marketers to marry the online and in-store experiences.

Additionally, 67 percent of the mobile shoppers came to a mobile site with the goal to shop. Thirty-three percent of users went to mobile for research.

Only seven percent of the consumers surveyed used their mobile devices for both researching and shopping, meaning that the majority of mobile shoppers used multiple channels for a transaction.

When it comes to showrooming, retailers need to understand that there is a massive opportunity to take advantage of the foot traffic that online retailers are driving into stores.

For example, ForeSee’s study found that roughly 60 percent of the consumers who used their mobile device in-store went to a brand’s mobile site. Similarly, 17 percent of users went to the brand’s mobile app.

“If you do a ton of advertising, you find the best location, you put up the biggest sign, and you make that store as appealing as possible,” Mr. Freed said.

“Now you have Web merchants driving consumers into your stores that is not necessarily a bad thing,” he said.

“We can talk all we want about how analytic-driven we are, but if we’re not looking across channels, we are missing a lot.”

Final Take
Larry Freed is president/CEO of ForeSee, Ann Arbor, MI