Global consumers continue to look for a more seamless integration between online and in-person shopping experiences. Retailers hoping to increase spend and loyalty among these omnichannel customers will need to take a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of those shoppers at every touchpoint in the sales process.

Those are some of the findings of iVend Retail’s 2019 Global Shopper Trends Report: Essential Insights for Retailers. The fourth annual report is based on a survey of 2,750 shoppers in 11 countries around the world, which measured their attitudes and behaviour related to retail purchase decisions, along with global shopping trends.

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We asked 2,700 shoppers what’s most important to them.

The Omnichannel Shopper

Browsing and evaluating products has evolved in a decidedly omnichannel operation for the majority of shoppers. Instead of visiting multiple stores before making a purchase, the survey found that 92.9% of shoppers have browsed online before making purchases in physical stores (a process called “webrooming”) and 86.2% will browse in physical stores before making purchases online (showroom shopping). In addition, 86.3% use a mobile device (like a smartphone) while they’re shopping in a physical store to research products and compare prices.

What does this mean for retailers? Omnichannel shopping needs to be seamless and it needs to be in synch. Consumers want to be able to identify a product to purchase online, and then find that product in stock at physical locations or be able to order it online and receive it quickly – which means inventory systems have to be accurate, real-time, and integrated across channels.

Web-to-Store Integration

One of the biggest global shopping trends of the year was the increase in Buy Online Pick Up in Store (BOPIS)/Click and Collect functionality, which allows shoppers to pay for an item on a website and then pick it up at a brick-and-mortar location at their convenience.

According to this year’s survey results, there was a 30% increase in BOPIS/click and collect compared to last year’s survey, with 81.4% of respondents making purchases this way. This method of shopping appears to be driven by both cost and convenience. The top three reasons cited for choosing BOPIS/click and collect including saving money on shipping (47.4% of respondents), saving time (44.4%), and getting an item right away (38.9%).

Shoppers want the greatest value, along with easier and more convenient ways to shop.

Loyalty Programs, Online Marketing Drive Sales

Loyalty programs, social media, and online or mobile marketing and promotions are increasingly driving retail sales.

In our survey, we found that loyalty programs play a major role in shopping decisions – 93.9% of shoppers say it’s a deciding factor when determining where to shop, representing an increase of 10% over last year. The top reason cited for joining a loyalty program was earning discounts and free items, according to 83.3% of respondents. The survey also found that 91.9% of global shoppers make purchases to earn loyalty rewards, and 35.3% base purchase decisions on loyalty rewards at least half of the time.

Online or electronic promotions are also playing a larger role. More than 70% of shoppers say that offers delivered to their mobile phones have influenced their buying decisions. And 79.7% have made a purchase because of an online or social media advertisement.

Retailers want their brand to be top-of-mind when shoppers are making these decisions. Our research shows that developing a valuable loyalty program, and keeping the branding message in front of those consumers through commonly used channels (like social media) will plan an important role in keeping consumers’ repeat business.

Technology Extends Shopping Convenience

Ease and convenience are also important for the in-store shopping experience, as well as online. Shoppers are drawn to retailers that strategically deploy technology in the store to increase value and save time.

The survey found that 44.6 % of shoppers want to be able to scan a QR code with their phone for instant discounts of product information. In addition, self-checkout is one of the top technologies that makes a consumer want to shop with a retailer according to 44.4% of respondents.

Modern consumers leverage a combination of physical and digital channels to browse, research, compare products, and make purchasing decisions. To meet the these customers’ expectations, retailers need to provide a consistent and connected experience across channels in order to optimise their response to each step in the purchasing process. That will require an investment in the right technology, along with a well-designed loyalty program and online marketing plan, to support the convenience and relevance that are an increasingly important part of a positive shopping experience.

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