Online is overtaking the store for browsing, search and discovery phases of the shopping journey, while brick and mortar is still the preferred venue for completing a purchase, says a new research report by Eagle Eye.
The Connected Customer report said establishing consistent digital customer connections and extending those connections into the store is an essential advantage for retailers and brands.
The report found that Canadian consumers visited three digital channels on average before making a purchase and Canadians are more likely to complete their purchase in a store (77 per cent).
Miya Knights, Head of Industry Insights at Eagle Eye Solutions, said the consumer survey confirmed that consumers are increasingly using digital to inform their purchasing journey.
“They prefer to browse on a website before purchasing in-store,” said Knights. “Canadians in the context of how much they have incorporated digital into their pre-purchase mix were pretty much in line with the other markets that we surveyed (UK, US and Australia). About 67 percent are saying that they visit websites before making purchases,” she said.
“But actually, Canada was the only country that came out highest in terms of the portion of customers that then go on to visit a store. That has many far-reaching implications, but I think the good news is it confirms the store is an essential part of the consumer engagement mix.”
The report also found:
Canadian consumers are significantly more likely to visit a ratings and review website (33 per cent) or social network (31 per cent) than consumers in other regions surveyed;
74 per cent of Canadians choose a retailer based on the best price, while 64 per cent are influenced by the variety of offers and 63 per cent by a loyalty scheme;
59 per cent surveyed collected or used loyalty points or vouchers recently;
61 per cent of Canadian consumers conducted at least one online activity prior to purchase in-store; and
64 per cent of Canadian consumers said relevancy in marketing is very important to them.
“Canadian consumers prefer to research products online and on their mobile devices before buying, but ultimately complete their purchase (including ‘click & collect’) in a traditional store. Retailers should therefore support customer shopping journeys by bringing digital connections in-store, using mobile apps and other interactive touchpoints, such as electronic shelf labels, to make the shopping experience easier and faster,” said the report.
“By all accounts, Canadians are active online. Ecommerce sales growth in Canada increased 18 per cent year-over-year as of April 2019 versus only 2.8 per cent growth for brick and mortar,” it added.
Key findings of the report include:
Many Canadian consumers prefer to carry out research online and via mobile before making a purchase. Retailers and brands must support the entire shopping journey and establish digitally enabled, data-driven customer connections. Generations X, Y and Z are using more channels before making a purchase – up to 3.4 touchpoints for high-value purchases – reinforcing the need for retailers across sectors to have a consistent omnichannel presence;
Digital customer connections provide invaluable shopping journey data that should be used to gain insights into what influences a customer’s choice of retailer. “Value for money” is still the top driver of consumer choice. But their growing expectation of rewards and recognition also has a powerful influence on whether a consumer chooses a particular retailer or brand;
Although price and promotions are the main influencers on a consumer’s choice of retailer, it is essential to take action and demonstrate added value doesn’t always have to mean a discount. Canadians perceive loyalty program apps as added value. It’s their most favored means for promotion delivery;
Taking effective and timely action in response to customer needs, preferences and expectations can boost engagement, as a prerequisite to promote loyalty that can drive sales and frequency. Relevancy (i.e., something consumers want or like) is the most important factor in whether the vast majority (94 per cent across all regions) of consumers across markets, age groups and gender redeem a promotion.
“Canadian consumers, like shoppers worldwide, are increasingly digitally connected. They have effectively migrated the browsing, searching and discovery phases of their shopping journeys to digital channels, though they still prefer to complete their purchases in a store,” said the report. “Effective performance marketing provides a way for retailers and brands to engage with consumers through any channel – and at any phase of their journey.
“Effective performance marketing also enables retailers and brands to follow their customers across touchpoints and understand them better by tracking their behaviors and preferences. Anonymous, mass-market, traditional marketing is not enough anymore. Retailers and brands must embrace personalization, shopping convenience, sustain relevance, and market “in the now” to engage with their customers and influence their purchasing habits more effectively.
“This is where the DIAL (Data, leading to Insight, driving Action to promote Loyalty) approach matters most. The “give to get” dynamic of most loyalty programs, which rewards consumers who provide access to their shopping information is evolving. Consumers today expect more from their chosen retailers and brands. This is why retailers and brands must always keep their eyes on the prize — to attract new customers, increase interaction and improve retention. In this fast-changing retail environment, retailers must utilize digital customer connections and data to develop insights into their behaviors for more effective marketing that can drive sales and foster more loyal repeat customers.”
Knights said the underlying factor in consumer trends is the increasing adoption of technology and that they are increasingly embracing the use of mobile for shopping.
“That’s anywhere and everywhere,” she said. “The whole search, browse and discovery phase of the shopping journey is increasingly going to be conducted by digital and increasingly via mobile technology. So, it is essential that retailers and brands harness this opportunity consistently, both online and in-store.”
Eagle Eye is a leading SaaS technology company transforming marketing by creating digital connections that enable personalized performance marketing in real time through coupons, loyalty, apps, subscriptions and gift services. Eagle Eye AIR enables the secure issuance and redemption of digital offers and rewards at scale, across multiple channels, enabling a single customer view.
It creates a network between merchants, brands and audiences to enable customer acquisition, interaction and retention at lower cost whilst driving marketing innovation. The company’s current customer base comprises leading names in UK Grocery, Retail and Food & Beverage sectors, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and John Lewis & Partners, JD Sports, Burger King, Greggs, Mitchells & Butlers, Pizza Express and in Canada, Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart and Esso.
Eagle Eye is headquartered in Guildford, United Kingdom and has offices in Manchester, Toronto and Melbourne.