Consumer purchase decisions are made or lost based on retailers’ ability to connect customer interactions and meet expectations across multiple channels, according to a new report issued by the e-tailing group and sponsored by Oracle.
The majority of consumers (44 percent) now research at least half of all purchases online, a trend that encompasses categories from technology to commodity products and is fueled by convenient access to the information that drives purchase decisions.
The findings underscore the relevance of the “showrooming” phenomenon in a price-driven, omni-channel shopping environment and draw attention to the need for customer-centric, channel-agnostic retail systems and services.
The report is based on a survey of the product research and shopping behavior of 1,033 U.S. consumers and seeks to benchmark change in consumer shopping behavior as e-commerce grows and the use of smart mobile devices gains popularity.
Overall Key Findings
Consumers expect a robust commerce platform and high-touch store experience, as 81 percent say ease of research and comparison shopping is the number one reason they shop online, while 67 percent say the main reason they step inside a store is to touch and feel products.
Data confirms that price management strategies are critical, as 80 percent of consumers say price is the most important element when they choose a product, and price-comparison has become a well-engrained behavior further fueled by mobile.
Consumers employ multiple channels for nearly all categories. Seventy-five percent of consumers research tech purchases online before deciding to buy, and 50 percent of consumers say they now research commodity purchases online.
Laptop and desktop devices are still the dominant electronic product research and shopping vehicles (51 percent), followed by smartphones (32 percent). Consumers’ choice of device fluctuates based on need, timing and location, though smartphone usage is on the rise.
The commerce platform is central to connecting interactions and engaging buyers, as 44 percent of consumers research at least 50 percent of all purchases online before buying in any channel.
Data shows that purchases still benefit from a trip to the local store and personnel remain key to sales and satisfaction, as 40 percent of consumers say a savvy store associate can impact their final product selection more than a website.
A whitepaper titled: “The Connected Consumer 2012: Evolving Behavior Patterns,” providing key findings and analysis on the results is available to download at: “The Connected Consumer 2012.”
“Today’s customers expect more than ever and take advantage of all available devices to problem solve, price shop and purchase,” said Lauren Freedman, President, the e-tailing group. “Retailers must be ready, as control has clearly shifted to consumers, with comprehensive information, consistent cross-channel experiences and compelling experiences essential for survival in our connected world.”
“For retailers to deliver the omni-channel experience customers are demanding, they must effectively manage operational and customer data across channels. Oracle helps connect cross-channel interactions and deliver actionable insight that enables employees to serve customers better,” said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Retail.
The e-tailing group is a niche e-commerce consultancy that helps merchants deliver the right customer experience on their websites and across all of their channels while adeptly assisting technology companies to create and execute go-to-market strategies that simultaneously educate the retail community and deliver cost-effective thought leadership and lead generation. For more information, visit http://www.e-tailing.com/
About Oracle Retail
Oracle provides retailers with a complete, open and integrated suite of business applications, server and storage solutions that are engineered to work together to optimize every aspect of their business. 20 of the top 20 retailers worldwide - including fashion, hardlines, grocery and specialty retailers - use Oracle solutions to drive performance, deliver critical insights and fuel growth across traditional, mobile and commerce channels. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.oracle.com/retail
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