Released on December 19, a new study from Ryan Partnership has taken an in-depth look at 16 digital shopping tools to assess which is having the biggest impact on consumer shopping behavior and customer satisfaction heading into 2014.
Perhaps most notably, the Ryan study found that daily deals sites and emails were the most likely to spur impulse consumer spending, and that search engines, while useful, were not found to have a substantial impact on shopping behavior.
The result is a candid look at which tools retailers and brands would be wise to embrace to improve their prospects in 2014 and beyond. But, the overall message may be that the retail industry could benefit from a heightened level of collaboration to drive purchasing: Both brand and retail-owned tools were found to have a heavy influence on consumer choice.
"As the discipline of digital shopper marketing matures, it is critical that marketers understand which tools to deploy, and how, in order to most effectively deliver on their specific marketing objectives," Kim Finnerty, senior vice president of research and insights at Ryan Partnership, said in a statement on the research.
To learn more about which digital tools are having the biggest impact on spending and which shopping channels are eliminating friction during the buying process, we break down Ryan's "Digital Shopping Tool Impact Study 2013" in this PYMNTS.com Data Point.
Consumer Impulse Spending Driven By Daily Deals, Email
The study found that 28 percent of consumers named daily deal sites as the top reason they buy new products and brands. But perhaps more importantly, the study confirmed recent reports that have demonstrated the increasing power of user reviews. Ryan's researchers found that 25 percent of consumers now say product reviews were the primary influence on their buying decisions.
Likewise, the findings support new reports underscore the importance of retail emails as a way to bolster spending. Ryan found that 14 percent of consumers say email is the top cause of their unplanned purchases, and that 8 percent say this medium is the biggest reason that they spend more than they plan to.
Websites Make Shopping Easier, Faster Than Apps, Consumers Say
The study found that the majority - 51 percent of consumers - believe that retail websites make shopping easier than all other tools. This percentage was higher than the figure for mobile apps, which captured just 49 percent of the vote.
Forty percent of consumers now believe retail websites make shopping faster, compared to 39 percent that say shopping apps to the same. However, shopping apps did edge out retail websites in one key category with 23 percent saying these tools made shopping more fun.
Product Reviews Have Biggest Influence On Consumers
Further cementing the demise of "the compromise effect" on consumer purchasing, Ryan's study found that product reviews had the biggest influence on consumers choice of retailer, with 39 percent labeling this tool the deciding factor.
Brand emails were found to be the second biggest influencer with 38 percent of the vote, while retail/brand social media, brand websites and retailer emails finishing in a four-way tie for third place with 30 percent of the vote.
With mobile apps influencing an ever-increasing share of real-world spend, the number of consumers who say these tools make shopping easier could increase in future Ryan studies. For more on mobile and how it is replacing advertising and its role influencing consumer purchases, read Karen Webster's latest commentary "More Proof: Payments Is Killing The Advertising Biz" here.