Bargain hunting Brits look to tech to locate best buys
Written by Rakesh Harji, UK MD, Blue Yonder
Getting the best price on clothes, food, electronics, and home ware, has become something of an obsession for British people over the last few years. A recent survey by Blue Yonder highlighted that 85 per cent of people in the UK try some sort of bargain hunting when shopping, whether it be online or on the High Street, and it is unlikely that this figure will decrease any time soon.
Technology is paving the way for comparison websites, voucher codes and mobile apps, meaning more and more people are cottoning on to the fact that they can save money by spending a bit of time looking around. In fact, UK shoppers believe that you can save 20 per cent by looking around online and will spend 29 minutes on average looking for the best deals and prices. And with the evolution of the digital customer, comes the need for retailers to react accordingly.
Showrooms on the rise
One good example of this is through the growing phenomenon of showrooming, brought about by the expansion of online retail. With the convenience of buying things online and having it delivered to your doorstep, bricks and mortar retailers are having to come up with innovative methods to attract customers into their shops and encourage them to make their purchase in-store instead of online. In fact, almost a quarter of Millennials participate in showrooming, whether the shops know it or not, buying products online while still in the store looking at them.
The best, and most successful, stores no longer see online as a threat, but more as an opportunity, and this is why showrooms have really kicked off. Customers still want to have the shopping experience, trying on the clothes and testing products in real life, as items purchased online do not always match the customer’s expectations on delivery. Over two thirds of shoppers have admitted to going into stores to test clothes and other products, only to go home and buy the item online at a cheaper price. To combat this, some online retailers have purpose-built showrooms now, where customers can tangibly assess products and try them out, but are unable to purchase them in-store, as they are sold online only. This blends the best of both worlds for the shopper, creating a more holistic shopping experience, and aids retailers as there is a reduced chance of returned items.
The price is right?
Showrooming isn’t just about convenience, it’s also about price. Increasingly consumers are turning towards technology to get the best deal and make their hard earned cash go as far as possible. With technology comes greater transparency through the ability to compare brand prices with one quick internet search. Pricing is a core strategic component of brands’ profitability, so this has significant implications for both e-commerce and High Street stores. Now more than ever, brands need to ensure they get their pricing right.
Bartering used to be commonplace in the past, but shoppers have become used to paying a fixed price for their shopping in recent times. Price-matching does not seem to work for customers either, as only one in nine people take advantage of this sort of guarantee in-store.
The pricing problem is all set to change however, as dynamic pricing becomes more commonplace, giving us a glimpse into what the future of shopping is. With the introduction of dynamic pricing into the mix, retailers can now make sure that all their products are positioned at the optimum price for customers. Taking into account a wide range of factors, such as previous price point, sales and competitor prices, dynamic pricing will determine the price that will keep retailers competitive in the market, whilst also giving customers a price that works for them. It’s not about price discrimination or personalised pricing, but a look at the bigger picture and finding the right price for all.
Know your customer
The key to getting it all right lies with understanding consumers’ behaviour. Those who have grown into adulthood surrounded by the technology have been revealed as the demographic most likely to use vouchers online (60 per cent), a price comparison website (55 per cent) or even use a barcode scanning app (10 per cent) in-store to ensure they get the best price. By knowing what customers want in-store and online, retailers can react according and tailor their offering to best suit the customer, increasing the likelihood of sales and brand loyalty. Ultimately, retailers will lose out on business unless they can deliver what customers want, adapting to the latest technology in this digital era.