Global report underscores need for seamless shopping across all channels

PARIS — It seems that shoppers worldwide expect a seamless integration across online, social media, mobile and physical stores, according to a new global report released by Capgemini.

"Digital Shopper Relevancy," which surveyed 16,000 digital shoppers across 16 developing and mature markets, found that 60% of respondents said they expect the convergence of retail channels by 2014, while more than half of those surveyed said most retailers currently are inconsistent in the way they present themselves across channels.

Capgemini found shoppers can be distinguished by six unique profiles: social digital shoppers, digital shopaholics, occasional online shoppers, rational online shoppers, value seekers and techno-shy shoppers:

  • Social digital shoppers (25% of respondents) seek opinions from social media and are users of mobile applications;

  • Digital shopaholics (18%), the heaviest buyers out of the six segments, demonstrate active use of smartphone apps and in-store technology;

  • Occasional online shoppers (16%) infrequently shop online but use digital channels primarily for choosing and comparing products and tracking deliveries;

  • Rational online shoppers (15%) are considered to be the second-most active online shopper segment and prefer to use the Internet during the shopping journey but not social media or mobile apps.

  • Value seekers are price-sensitive shoppers with little interest in digital shopping and new technologies but shop online primarily to find the best deals on products they know they want; and

  • Techno-shy shoppers aren't confident in using digital channels and devices and do not see these as important during any phase of the shopping journey. Value seekers and techno-shy shoppers consist of 13% of respondents each, Capgemini said.

"In today's complex marketplace, shoppers are in control and retailers need to remain relevant to the digital consumer across the all-channel journey," said Bernard Helders, Capgemini global consumer products and retail sector leader. "The industry should not only seek to understand the technology, they must separate hype from reality and, crucially, commit to cross-channel collaboration to stay profitable in today's tough economic climate."

Additional key findings from the Capgemini report include:

  • Websites continues to be the main digital shopping channel for shoppers in both developing and mature countries: 80% of respondents in developing markets said the Internet was "important" or "very important," while 63% in mature markets noted that the Internet was "important" or "very important" to the shopping journey. This is closely followed by e-mail interaction. However, such channels as social media, mobile applications and in-store kiosks are growing in popularity as alternative retail channels;

  • The number of digital-savvy shoppers increases considerably in developing markets and they tend to "leapfrog" the traditional retail infrastructure adopted by mature markets: 72% of respondents from India and 69% from China state that they purchase more products in a single transaction online than in a physical store, compared with just 31% from the United States;

  • More than half of the respondents from both developing and mature markets said they expect physical stores for increasing numbers of categories will simply become showrooms to select and order products by 2020;

  • More than half of those surveyed (56%) are likely to spend more money at a physical store if they had used digital channels to research the product prior to purchase; however, 73% of respondents also expect online prices to be lower than those in physical stores;

  • There is no "one" digital shopper profile as varied behavioral patterns appear across a number of factors, including age, gender, product category, journey stage and market maturity. The study did highlight that 55% of women shoppers are more engaged when using digital channels, compared with 44% of men; and

  • (Somewhat) personalized experiences can deliver for retailers: 61% of respondents said they want online stores to remember their personal shopper history to speed up shopping, while only 41% would want to be identified through smartphones when entering a physical store.

"[It] is critical for retailers to identify who is really using these channels and essential in determining where to make digital investments and how to monetize them," Helders said. "The findings of the report are a call to action for retailers and consumer goods companies to adopt a new approach and harness the technology that's now available."

Click here for the full report.

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