As a follow on to our blog last week about how online shopping is beginning to pose a real threat to the High Street , today we are looking at rash of new data generated by the new shopping trends and habits that have emerged over the first six months of 2011. As with all areas of digital, the pace of change is rapid and fierce and those that don’t take notice of the stats will undoubtedly get their fingers burned.
One of the interesting new surveys is from econsultancy who last month surveyed 2000 shoppers in both the UK and the US to compare how the approaches to multi-channel shopping varied between the two countries.
Although there are differences (hardly surprising) there are a number of similarities in how the sophisticated consumer is playing the ‘multi-channel’ game to ensure that they optimise their shopping experience in terms of value-for-money, convenience and just being able to buy the best product that meets their needs.
People are using general information online to make informed choices about shopping, whether it’s online or in a store. And they expect to be able to interchange the two experiences, by for example, returning a product bought online to a physical shop.
As mentioned before retailers, must integrate their online and offline promotions to get optimal effect from the customers.
And all this is before taking into account the effect of ‘social shopping’: Groupon and LivingSocial are the big boys, but coupon and ‘daily deals’ sites are popping up all over the place. According to BIA/Kelsey research, the estimate is that what was an $873 million market in deal-a-day e-commerce in 2010 will rise to $1.24 billion in 2011 and increase to $3.9 billion in 2015. However, the market is a very new niche, and although Groupon has attracted some eye-wateringly high valuations pre-IPO, many analysts think that these are way too high.
What is clear though is that the canny consumer is playing the game to maximum advantage, which has shifted the balance and caused many retailers to lose out.
More research finds that “the relatively low percentages of deal users spending beyond the deal value (35.9 percent) and returning for a full-price purchase (19.9 percent)”, which means that the long-term market isn’t quite as peachy for the deals market as some would like to think.
So while the consumer is playing clever, so must the retailer. As closures on the High Street become a regular fixture in the headlines, retailers must become more and more sensitive to the needs of their customers. And we haven’t even got onto the effect of mobile shopping on all this yet….another blog coming soon for that one!