Rise of the Omnichannel Shopper Is a Boon for Brick-and-Mortar

New Research Around Consumer Shopping Habits Offers Retailers Insights on Increasing Foot Traffic with an Omnichannel Approach

The past decade was a major turning point for retailers, with legacy brands shifting their business models in response to the emergence of digital-first brands and changing shopping behaviors. Big players have adapted innovative new ways to appeal equally to an in-person and online consumer, i.e. Walmart with Jet.com.

Even so, there remains heightened competition from behemoths (such as Amazon) taking over customers’ wallets and screens. And now, with the rise of the direct-to-consumer brand making shopping more seamless and tailored than ever, retailers are witnessing the rise of the automated shopper who values personalized convenience above all else.

But if we take a step back, we can see that brick-and-mortar locations still live on and in fact, many direct-to-consumer and online-first brands have started to open physical locations. Take Amazon acquiring Whole Foods for example. This pattern of creating an omnichannel experience for consumers has only proven to be more successful for building brand loyalty. What we’re finding is that digital retail’s relevance is extending to the in-store experience and actually helping to drive in-store foot traffic.

It just takes a little convincing to lure consumers in-store

A new report released by Blis entitled “Omnichannel Consumers Treading New Paths to Purchase” shows that shoppers are still willing to go in-store, but they just need a reason to do so. In fact, 35% of consumers actually prefer purchasing in-store rather than online, and 41% of consumers surveyed said they could be swayed to head in-store off the back of a well-timed mobile ad. Further, with 45% of respondents citing an online reservation as a motivating factor for in-store pick-up, a quarter also said they’d be willing to buy in-store and have the purchase shipped to them (with 35% believing in-store purchases are more secure than online).

This provides an opportunity for retailers to capitalize on their consumers’ unique shopping preferences. Tailoring an approach that can move seamlessly from online to in-store and hone in on the elements that matter most to the individual shopper has the potential to increase sales and drive foot traffic.

The automated shopper continues to be on the rise

In today’s hyper-connected landscape, consumers are placing a higher premium on convenience and personalization than ever before. As a result, retailers are seeing a rise of an automated shopper who is willing to have an item automatically shipped on a recurring basis. The study found that a majority of consumers — particularly men — are receptive to this subscription model; in fact, 42% of men (vs 30% of women) were keen on automating clothing basics (like underwear), while 35% of men would automate shoe purchases (vs 25% of women). The concept also appeals to the younger 25-34 year old cohort, with 81% receptive to automating shopping (vs 61% for overall consumers).

Brands should target consumers as they make online purchases and identify chances to convert a one-off purchase into an ongoing subscription (with the ability to select delivery or pick-up in-store). By leaning into personalized shopping models, brands will enhance the overall experience and maximize convenience, in turn encouraging brand loyalty and freeing up time for consumers to explore innovative products and concepts in-store.

What will motivate consumers to switch brands?

Despite increasing competition among brands and the struggle for retailers to maintain brand loyalty, the study also revealed some interesting data tied to the influence of discounts for consumers. The findings showed that shoppers are actually less reactive to discounts, with 50% of respondents saying they would need a discount of at least 25% to switch toilet paper brands, and 16% stating that no discount would motivate them, regardless of size.

Overall, despite changing consumer preferences, many retailers are turning to an omnichannel approach to drive traffic from online to in-store and vice versa. As long as retailers can blend the experiences and give shoppers a reason to use both, they should be able to compete in the quickly evolving retail landscape. This lends further proof to the value of location-based consumer insights, which can be instrumental to helping retail brands better understand their customers and ultimately shape their shopping experiences around it. By having a unique, customizable omnichannel strategy, retailers can raise brand loyalty and drive traffic.

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