How much have digital technologies changed shopping?

The ‘steps’ within the Shopper Path-to-Purchase have remained unchanged. Plan-Shop-Evaluate.

But how shoppers go through those steps has radically changed given digital, mobile and social technologies.

The past decade has given Shoppers more tools than ever to navigate their everyday lives and shopping is no different.

The vast majority of Americans – 95% – now own a cellphone of some kind. 77% of Americans that own smartphones.

Whether it is as simple as buying toothpaste or ordering a new car, the Internet and the devices people use to access it, have reduced friction from the process and make it ever easier to turn from a shopper to a buyer instantly.

Just 5 years ago, 70% of shoppers said shopping started before they entered the store. Shoppers shifted their decision making from in-store to out-of-store,

And, now, shoppers can simply ask Siri, Alexa or Google Home to place an order whenever they think about it. Is shopping at the speed of thought too far off?

The future is bright for all things Digital Shopper Marketing, Emerging Technologies or Path-to-Purchase Innovation.

Or, is it?

The digital landscape is cluttered with hype and low adoption.

Current use of technologies may even lead to higher shopper frustration.

Issues shoppers often site include content that is not mobile optimized or consumer targeted content versus in-store experience focused.

Connectivity and time are also problems.

There are still issues with being unable to access apps in-store due to a lack of signal.

Often, mobile speeds (especially for downloads) don’t keep up with the speed of shopping.

And, even shoppers willing to use Mobile Pay in-store, are often confronted by systems that are incompatible with their devices, apps or ‘banking’ method.

digital technologies must make the shopping experience better.

Thinking long and hard about how to make the in-store experience – whether a retail outlet or restaurant – is the critical first step to defining what technologies will be beneficial. So, what is working for the shopper?

1. List Making.

Not too long ago the #1 digital activity in store was checking e-mail. And, probably today, that has only been overtaken by messaging or keeping up with your social network.

The top area of adding value to shoppers is the ability to make a simple and easy to keep up with list. This is why tools like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have such promise.

Automate my shopping life (at least for routine, low involvement activities) and you may just have a customer for life.

2. Personalized, PRECISION Pricing.

Offering relevant items when people need them – and at fair prices – is a winning combination from a shopper perspective. From a brand perspective, precision pricing helps differentiate between shoppers.

Different messages and offers can be used to attract different audiences. This can lead to attracting more new users, and bring back more lapsed users and better conversion of buyers overall.

3. Easier and Enhanced ExperienceS.

Whether in-store or online, to be most successful, the shopper experience must be well thought out and designed. If things are harder than they need to be, shoppers will seek other ways to fulfill their needs.

This might include new technologies like Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality to create immersive or transformative experiences.

More often than not, it means making sure products are easy to find and there is appropriate product information available (both online and in-store).

Today it’s clear: Digital technologies must serve shoppers.

 

Making this happen is not done by accident. It’s important to have a common set of ground rules for brands to be successful.

  • Focus, first and foremost, on addressing shopper/guest needs
  • Seek to create a better connection between brand and shoppers
  • Integrate and collaborate (across departments and partners) for success

This is how digital platforms can become true growth platforms today and into the future.