Blurred Lines Between Online and Offline Shopping Have Altered Consumer Shopping Behavior
Wanderful Media, a new local discovery shopping company based in Silicon Valley, California, announced the results of a national survey of more than 1000 consumers on shopping behavior. Conducted by Dimensional Research and commissioned by Wanderful Media, the survey revealed that 91 percent of consumers shop in a physical store as a result of an online experience such as an email promotion, online coupon or online newspaper circular. Another 77 percent researched a product online while shopping in a store, and 62 percent ultimately purchased the item.
The goal of the survey - “Technology Blurs the Line of Online vs. In-store Shopping” - was to gather current data about consumer shopping behavior in stores and online, and to uncover how mobile and online technologies have changed the overall shopping experience. The findings show a growing integration between online and offline has created a more fluid shopping experience, where consumers move through the process of shopping in a non-traditional way using technology to allow them freedom of location, device and even activities.
For this survey, “shopping” was defined as any activity encompassing the broader shopping experience including browsing, discovering a new product, reading product reviews, researching a purchase, checking with friends or experts about what to buy, asking the retailer questions about a product, purchasing a product, returning a product and sharing details of a purchase on social media.
According to the research, there are distinct drivers behind online and in-store shopping. Online shoppers cited ease-of-research, speed to find an item and cost as the top reasons they prefer to shop online. Respondents who prefer to shop in a physical store cited getting answers to questions, seeing the item before purchase, ease of making a return and merchant relationships as the top drivers. Behavioral patterns were uncovered that show a majority, independent of age, will go online to research products while in-store before purchasing; and most will buy the item they were considering. They are also doing other things such as watching television, commuting and socializing with friends while shopping. Surprisingly in this age of online shopping, consumers report they like to spend time in their local retail store as well.
Mobile was by far the preferred technology according to the survey. Smartphones were the most popular devices (92 percent) for in-store research, followed closely by tablets. For conducting in-store research when shopping, search engines (84 percent) and Amazon (76 percent) were the most common online resources, according to the survey, while more than one-third (37 percent) identified social media as a resource.
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