In-store shopping activity drives almost half of e-commerce sales, according to a global consumer survey from SapientRazorfish and Salesforce. More than half of shoppers — 60% of respondents — start their hunt in the digital channel but prefer shopping in physical locations.
The notion of in-store and online as complimentary channels was one of four strategic insights drawn from the resulting report, which blended data from three sources — the Salesforce Shopping Index, which looks at the shopping activity of more than 300 million shoppers worldwide; a global survey of the preferences and motivations of 6,000 shoppers across six countries; and 27 interviews with retail experts in technology and customer experience, the companies said.
The report also noted that artificial intelligence can help shoppers to better connect with the most relevant products. In addition, mobile continues to be a massive resource for retail activity, with 71% of all global consumers having used their mobile devices for retail activity in the past 30 days. Results also suggested that mobile payment options boost conversion rates. Apple Pay, for example, helped boost conversion by 27% at one retail partner compared to non-Apple Pay shoppers, the study said.
This report, formally called "Shopper-First Retailing: What Consumers Are Telling us About the Future of Shopping," is an especially broad study, drawing data from multiple consumer and shopper fronts, but also from retail experts, to show some of best evidence yet for why retailers should make omnichannel strategizing a major priority.
It also reinforces the value of the in-store experience at a time when most retailers are trying to figure out what their stores need to become to survive. For example, if 58% of Generation Z shoppers prefer the physical store experience to online, as this study suggests, retailers pondering their futures can start to feel a little more confident that they actually have futures (A recent Gordon Haskett Research Advisors survey provided a similar dose of confidence in the brick-and-mortar model).
Among other figures from this latest report, 79% of all shoppers said that want to leave a store with their purchase in hand, which should provide retailers with reasoning to expand buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) programs and in general pursue the concept that some or most of the mission of a physical store is to be a fulfillment center. In fact, the study furthers this notion by noting that 54% of 18 to 24 year olds are very or moderately interested in BOPIS, increasing to 60% for 25 to 34 year olds and 35 to 44 year olds.
Ultimately, there is honestly so much data and so many takeaways from this report that it's kind of impossible to unpack the results in a single post. It even contains profiles and opinions of some specific retailers that have aggressively invested in omnichannel approaches.
There are many interesting insights and data points revealed by those retailers, but one that really gets to the bottom line of the action retailers need to take comes from Fabian Engelhorn, CEO of German retailer Engelhorn: “Retailers must take a more personal, customer-specific approach to the service they deliver, otherwise people will not come back," Engelhorn said. "The shopping experience must be more than just stop and shop.”