Clicks, omnichannel shopping equal convenience
Today, convenience isn’t just about having a smaller box to shop in, or an easily navigated merchandising scheme where consumers can quickly identify what they’re looking for, grab it and go. Today, convenience is about clicks — as in: What are the fewest clicks to the buying decision? And how can the retailer best facilitate a shopping experience in their stores on the shopper’s smartphone?
Because today, convenience is omnichannel shopping, particularly on the smartphone.
“While the vast majority of retail purchases still take place in stores, the purchase-decision process increasingly flows through smartphones,” eMarketer noted in its latest report, “Omnichannel Trends 2015: Mobile Is the New Retail Hub.” “There are a few exceptions, … but for considered purchases, people are researching online before and during their time in a store.”
Digital has become a crucial part of the shopping experience. eMarketer cited a Forrester Research projection that by 2017, nearly $1.8 trillion in in-store sales, or more than 60%, will be influenced by digital.
eMarketer estimated that there were 145.9 million mobile shoppers in the United States in 2014, up 23 million from 2013. But they’re not buying on their phones — eMarketer estimates only 1.6% of total U.S. retail sales will be traced to mobile. Shoppers are using those phones to facilitate the shopping trip, however. Almost 2-in-5 are using the store locator function on their phones (39%), others are getting social feedback on a potential gift (38%) and a few are in search of in-store deals through their smartphones (33%).
More and more of those in-store deals will be delivered by way of such tools as iBeacon and other in-store proximity tools, eMarketer suggested. In a recent Placecast/Harris survey, 15% of mobile phone or smartphone owners indicated that they had interacted with such technology. And according to beacon platform Swirl, the majority of the top 100 retailers are actively testing beacon technology, many of them with systemwide tests. “Several department store chains and apparel retailers are leading the way, but retailers as varied as supermarkets and drug stores have significant deployments,” eMarketer noted.