Our behaviour as consumers and shoppers has changed dramatically over the past few years. We now not only buy online, but we do research on-the-go or in-store, we compare vendors and products on our smartphones, we rely on social media for recommendations and ideas.
As a recent report by PwC points out, we are inclined to shop multi-channel – the power of choice lies in our hands, it is up to us to decide where to buy and when to buy.
The consumer and buyer journeys have become increasingly complicated and so understanding and actually creating a sales cycle turns out to be an almost impossible task for companies.
One is certain though – brands cannot ignore the digital revolution. They are required to use digital technology and create new buying experiences that are better fitted to the way we now like to explore, learn, buy, try and recommend. And that’s largely mobile and online.
Even Google has realised that – coming April 21st, Google will start penalising websites that are not mobile-friendly, which will have significant impact on search results and companies’ ability to rank for consumer queries.
And let’s not forget that many of us are now addicted mobile windows shoppers – we may make the actual purchase more on our desktops or in-store, but it is mobile that inspires us and drives us to buy. It is Instagram that we learn about new products, it is Facebook that we get recommendations from friends and families, it is Twitter that we learn about brand fails – and we access those networks mostly through our smartphones.
So, what can brands do to be part of our consumer journeys?
They need to be at every possible touch point. They need to create a user experience that is entirely consumer-centric by understanding how, when and where people evaluate products and make the purchase decision.
Two types of consumer behaviours are important here: showrooming and webrooming.
Webrooming vs. showrooming: what's the difference?
- Showrooming is when people view products in-store, compare options and details, and then search for the product online because it is cheaper to buy online then at the physical store. These consumers want to see and touch before they buy, however they are still online shoppers and so for them stores become showrooms. And as it turns out, 46% of shoppers showroom.
- Webrooming, or reverse showrooming, is basically the opposite of showrooming – people do all the research online and then decide when and in which store to go purchase the product. And guess what, the majority of us showroom – 78%. That’s an impressive number, isn’t it?
What this all means is that for small and for big businesses it’s becoming essential to be accessible and active online so that people can actually find them.
Whether they start online or end online, our consumer journeys are driven by search results, social media recommendations, brand content and various other online, mobile and physical sources.
Companies need to create multiple touch points for consumers, exposing them to an omnichannel shopping experience making it easy for them to buy.
The key shopper habits of today
Here are some actionable tips to consider for your digital, content and social media activities:
- When it comes to content creation, make sure you use enticing visuals: in ecommerce, 93% of people admit that visuals are the top influencing factor affecting their purchase decision.
- Create a community where people can share thoughts, ideas and feedback: 85% of people read online reviews and 70% of them trust these reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Provide Wifi in your physical stores: 40% of consumers believe that the in-store shopping experiences needs improvement and 56% would spend more if the physical locations allowed them to browse more through their merchandise online first.
- Have an active social media presence and encourage people to tag you/talk about you: 24% of shoppers post updates on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) while in store and 21% of them use location based services to check in (Foursquare, Facebook). What’s more, 71% of people make purchase decisions based on social media referrals.
Assuming that you want to dive even deeper into webrooming vs. showrooming, here’s a great infographic from merchantwarehouse.com that will give you additional insights and ideas.
What does your consumer journey look like?