Momentum UK President, Luke D’Arcy, discusses how shoppers now rely more than ever on technology in store, making technology the very essence of the shopper journey itself...
When it comes to marketing technology, ‘shopper tech’ has traditionally been focused on facilitating and speeding up actual transactions. Yet new research indicates that the service exchange has evolved, with modern shoppers demanding transactions in experiences and not just goods.
According to new research from total brand experience agency Momentum Worldwide and its shopper marketing design consultancy ChaseDesign, shopper technology is no longer an extension of the store experience, but the very essence of the shopper journey itself. 78% of shoppers expressed an expectation that shopper technology be available to them, while 54% claimed to have developed an actual reliance on it.
With 77% of shoppers claiming that shopper technologies impact their likelihood to shop for a specific brand or at a specific store, it’s critical that marketers implement the needs of today’s modern shoppers into their plans.
The recession’s legacy of price-driven digital shopper tools still resonates: 78% of modern shoppers referenced cost saving as one of the benefits of using technologies, while 60% cited access to deals and promotions.
Time is precious
But critically, the biggest benefit felt by 86% of shoppers was time-saving. In a world where empowered shoppers have access to low prices and deals, retailers and brands have to start offering their shoppers value that transcends cost. From social elements to gamification, implementing wider digital trends allows us to shift from financial to emotional transactions.
Over half (53%) of shoppers are most likely to use a mobile shopping app before they enter a store, while an additional 32% are most likely to use them for online shopping. Even when shoppers are using their mobiles in-store, 83% of shoppers are doing so to conduct price comparison.
Despite the best efforts of retailers, there exists a fundamental disconnect between mobile and physical experiences: better integration is needed.
This means a shift away from transaction platforms (since shoppers are comparing prices and accessing deals already) and delivery of compelling, disruptive and value-driven experiences that complement the in-store experience in meaningful ways.
Use differs by genre
When asked what categories shoppers are most likely to use technology to aid their purchasing decision, apparel (79%), consumer electronics (72%), and entertainment (64%) came top. This is no surprise given the emotional investment or length of consideration involved with these purchases.
But for retailers and brands, the onus is firmly on them to start creating new experiences in new categories. When asked what category shoppers want to see more shopper technology integrated into, the majority (50%) favoured grocery. We’ve been handed a very clear remit to deliver compelling and engaging experiences: savvy retailers have the chance to steal a march.
At home, in-store and post-shop: modern shoppers are expressing a desire for digitally-driven experiences throughout the shopper journey of the future. Active displays in-store (70%) and smart appliances that keep you updated and order additional supplies (67%) were the leading technologies that shoppers expressed a keen interest in using.
But shoppers are actively demanding more from their in-store experience.
Beacons and AR: Hot areas
AR-assisted decision-making (56%) and in-store beacons (54%) were also of significant interest. For retailers and brands, this presents a key validation to implement these technology infrastructures, on which a range of immersive and meaningful experiences can then be ran and refined to better integrate digital experiences into the in-store environment.
Amidst all this technology, shoppers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to data, security and the value that their personal information has in the exchange of goods and services. Giving a retailer an email address or a name is now de rigueur.
Yet sensitive information remains sacred for many shoppers – only 49% would provide their phone number, while 14% would provide family information. Retailers and brands need to get better at assuring shoppers their information is safe: the leak of personal information or hacks is a concern to 85% of shoppers, along with identity theft (74%) and the passing on of personal information (65%).
The fact that half of shoppers express a firm desire to always be in the know about new shopper technologies shows a hunger and desire that presents a huge opportunity for marketers – and this opportunity needs to deliver more than transactions alone.
But – and here’s the critical piece – retailers and brands need to get this offering right.
And that’s an exciting challenge.