iVend Retail’s Global Path to Purchase Report reveals many similarities in consumer trends around the world—but it also reveals that there are many differences. The Asia-Pacific Region is a prime example of how challenging those disparities can be for retailers, where a distance of a few thousand miles can mean you need to significantly vary retail strategies to deliver the experiences customers are looking for.
Shopping on a Smartphone
On average around the globe, 71.6% of consumers are shopping on their smartphones when at home, travelling or during free time. This is less of a trend but still represents the majority of shoppers in Australia, where 59.8% of respondents say they shop on smartphones during those times. In the Philippines, however, where most consumers access the internet via mobile phone, 90.4% of consumers are shopping on their smartphones.
- Fully understand how customers in a particular geographic area of your market access the internet. If most are using their smartphones, optimize the experiences you provide for that channel.
- Based on our survey findings, retailers in all parts of the world must have a mobile-friendly website or user-friendly app. The alternative is, candidly, losing sales.
Webrooming and Showrooming
Our survey confirmed our belief that most global shoppers “webroom.” This isn’t surprising since in our consumer surveys (find them on our Research Hub) over the past few years, we’ve seen a growing trend of consumers researching items online before going to a brick-and-mortar store to make a purchase. This year, however, we asked what motivates shoppers to take various steps in the path to purchase. Roughly 89% of Australian shoppers, like most of our global respondents said, “I can take my time when deciding what to purchase.” The majority of shoppers (67.6%) in the Philippines, however, cited “convenience” as the top motivator.
Conversely, the vast majority of Filipino shoppers (94.8%) “showroom,” the practice of browsing in stores and later making purchases online, but this is somewhat less prevalent in Australia, where 77.2% of shoppers say this is a part of their path to purchase.
- Recognize the difference between shopping and buying on the path to purchase and optimize the experiences you offer your customers at each stage of the game on any channel.
- For regions where shoppers are webrooming to give themselves more time to make purchasing decisions, consider directing them to webpages or microsites filled with product and promotion information that will give them the information they’re looking for. Boring retail is dying — provide innovative, clever and relevant experiences.
- For areas where shoppers are motivated by convenience to engage in webrooming, keep inventory and pricing information, click and collect details, and quick links to order for in-store pickup front and center on your website.
- If shoppers in a region of your global market are more inclined to showroom, consider changing in-store operations to include more engagement by sales associates, deploying mobile point of sale (mPOS) to provide quick access to information — and to complete a sale at the point of decision.
We also found that social marketing is likely to have significantly different returns in the Philippines vs. Australia. About 90% of Filipino shoppers have responded to offers made through social media compared to only 42% of Australian shoppers.
- Experiment with a variety of social media platforms to see which has the greatest return for your business in the geographic regions where you do business.
- Be metrics-minded with social promotions, monitoring and assessing their results until you optimize your social marketing activity.
Attitudes Toward New Technology
There seems to be a continuous stream of emerging retail technology, so we thought we’d ask consumers which new innovations they were most interested in using when shopping with their favorite brands. Again, there was a notable difference between consumers in the Philippines and in Australia. 89.6% of Filipino shoppers say they are interested in using new technologies when they shop, as opposed to only 48.4% of Australian shoppers.
The technology shoppers in both countries are most interested in is automatic payment using digital shopping carts.
- Acknowledge the fact that customers in some areas will be more accepting of the latest technology innovations than others.
- Consider the anticipated length of the adoption period for a new technology as you calculate potential ROI.
Retailers in the Asia-Pac region are challenged to accommodate different types of shoppers with different habits and different attitudes toward advancing retail technology. Adapting your retail strategy to suit specific geographies will result in loyalty-building customer experiences in all regions where you do business.
The first step is understanding your customers. Our survey report is a great place to start for more information on what your customers around the world are looking for.