Customers clamour for personalisation/social

A new study of retail trends reveals a significant rise in the use of connected devices, including wearables, and an increase in social commerce. It also urges retailers to personalise the shopping experience in order to boost sales.

The average consumer is now using a total of five devices when making a purchase – up from 2.8 in 2014. This is according to DigitasLBi’s 2015 Connected Commerce study across 17 countries including Australia, China, India, Japan, the UK and the USA. Seventeen per cent of shoppers revealed that they now own a wearable device – a figure that is likely to rise with the launch of Apple Watch and similar devices with the potential to offer new in-store experiences.

Meanwhile, 62 per cent of respondents claim they buy more and/or more often when met with personalised retail experiences. A further 27 per cent actively look for personalised offers when shopping online and 75 per cent log in to e-commerce websites that cater for their personal preferences based on previous behaviour (40 per cent) or to get product personalisation (34 per cent). This goes beyond the online experience, with 70 per cent of shoppers around the world admitting they are more likely to embrace new in-store technologies such as GPS and WiFi tracking if they receive customised benefits in return, such as personalised money-off vouchers.

DigitasLBi’s study also shows that social media is influencing an increasing number of purchases both on and offline. Overall Facebook is leading the way with 52 per cent of users now admitting that the social network impacts the way they shop, up from 36 per cent in 2014. This compares to 46 per cent for Pinterest, 43 per cent for Instagram and 36 per cent for Twitter. Social shopping is also rapidly gaining traction, with 28 per cent of social network users around the world claiming to have purchased an item directly via a social media platform. UAE leads the way in terms of social shopping with 56 per cent of respondents now buying through social sites. Other elements such as online reviews are also gaining importance in the purchasing process: 66 per cent of shoppers read them when buying online and 36 per cent when shopping in-store.

“Peer pressure has always been a powerful influencing factor when it comes to making purchases and the Connected Commerce survey shows that social networks aimed at our personal lives rather than our professional lives are translating this online. Retailers need to ensure that social media is integrated throughout the entire customer journey and that they manage their social channels to make a real impact on purchase behaviour,” says Jim Herbert, managing partner at DigitasLBi Commerce.

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