Company News • 13.03.2015

Mall and online shopping experiences merging, thanks to technology

Younger shoppers, women more likely to shop online and via smartphones

Mall and online shopping experiences merging, thanks to technology...
Source: Smart Focus

With signs that economic growth is boosting consumer confidence in the US, a new survey has revealed that Americans still love to shop at the mall – while highlighting how the physical and virtual shopping worlds are merging, particularly for Millennials –consumers between 16 and 24 years old – and women.

The 1,515-strong survey – commissioned by leading digital marketing company SmartFocus – reveals that while the majority of consumers prefer to both shop and spend their money in brick-and-mortar retail stores, more than 60% are increasing their online shopping activities. This trend is most prevalent among women (71%) and Millennials.

The SmartFocus survey also reveals a significant age-related gap in digital shopping preferences. Nearly half of all Millennials spend more time shopping online than in stores while only 27% of Baby Boomers (consumers aged 55 and up) prefer to shop online.

There’s also a gender gap, with women more likely than men to identify and buy products on a smartphone and receive offers from brands via smartphone or email. However, about half of both men and women in the US were open to sharing personal data with brands.

Across the board people admitted to browsing in stores and then buying online (a practice sometimes called “showrooming”), with over 60% of those in the US saying this was something they did. More than 70% of shoppers cited price as a reason for showrooming.

Of the shoppers surveyed, Millennials are the most open to receiving product offers via email and sharing personal data with a brand in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience. Overall, about 75% of US shoppers welcome digital offers and discounts – particularly women, 78% of whom were receptive to digital offers. Other survey findings include:

  • 70% of Americans believe that technological advances and the Internet of Everything will continue to change the way they shop.
  • By a 2:1 ratio, Americans report that they still love to shop at a mall or in a retail store, but 61% admit that they spot products at stores and then buy them online.
  • Bargain hunters are more likely to buy something if they’ve received discount offer via email or text.
  • Over 60% of Americans don’t understand location-based marketing and beacon technology, indicating a large, untapped opportunity to better educate consumers about its advantages.

“The US shopper survey shows that consumers are becoming more sophisticated about digital shopping,” said Rob Mullen, SmartFocus CEO and retail marketing expert. “Using mobile phones and tablets to find bargains is becoming the norm rather than the exception."

“In today’s digital world, it’s about reaching out to shoppers with their preferred technology – their mobile phone – and offering them relevant deals. The survey reinforces that fact that shoppers know the value of their personal data – and are willing to trade some of that for access to discounted offers. Besides the sale in question, shoppers will also benefit when marketers are able to analyze their data. Data analysis enables discovery of previously unrecognized patterns of behavior and allows merchants to put together more relevant offers.”

The release of the survey comes on the day SmartFocus announces the acquisition of two key “big data” technology marketing startups – Beacon technology specialist TagPoints and social media analyst Content Savvy.

Many high-profile companies are already using SmartFocus’ expanding range of digital marketing tools. A major UK fashion retailer is using its Beacon technology, which will offer consumers visiting stores dedicated discounts and “secret” offers via an app. And in a significant move, the system will link consumer in-store behavior to email by contacting them via email afterwards. One large brand that currently uses SmartFocus is the global technology giant HP.

"SmartFocus is HP's marketing engine for the Internet of Everything,” said Dennison Degregor, Worldwide CRM Executive at HP. “The reality is that many businesses cannot cope with the amount of data they have access to in today’s connected world. Therefore, it is critical that they have access to tools that not only enable them to capture data, but allow them to analyze that data and act on it instantly."

"The addition of TagPoints and Content Savvy is adding new perspectives to understanding customer behavior. Coupled with SmartFocus’ exciting toolset, they have the potential to redefine digital marketing. It will give HP and our clients unrivalled insight and enable us to communicate with our customers in a relevant, timely and targeted way, irrespective of where they are or what device they are using."

Source: Smart Focus


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