The digital revolution not only gave retail consumers more convenience, it made them smarter shoppers — and they’re getting savvier every day.
According to “The Retail CMO’s Guide to the Omnishopper,” a report released yesterday (Sept. 9) by MasterCard, eight out of 10 global shoppers’ purchase decisions are informed by a digital device, the preponderance of which has turned the average consumer into a patient, skilled, value-seeking missile.
That’s not to say that modern retail consumption begins and ends online. On the contrary, digital devices are primarily only one component of the overall shopping experience in a retail landscape where in-store sales still account for more than nine-tenths of all spending. Exactly as the name implies, the omnishopper is a consumer whose reach is not limited to any one channel; rather, his or her transactional journey covers a wide swath of information and product sources — often simultaneously.
Retailers who seek to earn the business of the modern omnishopper have to get on their level (or levels, as it were) —and not all of them are succeeding in that regard.
"Getting smart about smart shoppers is paramount to a retailer’s success, yet shoppers consistently report they’re frustrated that retailers don’t get it,” said Mathieu Loury, senior vice president of Merchant Solutions for MasterCard Advisors, in a press release. “The good news is that the solutions exist to both analyze and answer these expectations — meeting your omnishoppers every step of their empowered journey, and creating an ecosystem that propels them forward."
Built upon survey data from thousands of shoppers around the world combined with transaction-based insights from its own company, MasterCard’s “Retail CMO’s Guide to the Omnishopper” provides a number of insights that can help retailers keep pace with the increasing savvy of the multi-faceted consumer. Below, we present a glimpse into some of the key findings.
CONSUMER OVER CHANNEL
Mono-channel and the analog shopper are history…but (and more recently) so is omnichannel marketing. It’s the consumer who has access to all available methods of purchase; each will let the retailer know through his or her behavior which one(s) he or she prefers — not the other way around.
SHOPPERS HAVE FULL FAITH IN THEIR SKILLS
Eighty percent of respondents to the MasterCard survey said they are better shoppers than they were a few years ago, while 70 percent said they get more value out of their retail purchases than they did five years ago. Retailers would be well served to take that confidence seriously.
THE STORE REMAINS CENTRAL
ECommerce is here to stay, but it’s far from the mountaintop; worldwide, its portion of total retail sales remains below 10 percent. Where eCommerce is really making waves is in the path to purchase, where its stake stands at a robust 80 percent.
Brick-and-mortar retail locations — because of their inventory levels as well as the social interaction and sheer entertainment value they provide — remain a vital part of the consumer experience for the omnishopper.
CONSUMERS GO WITH WHOM THEY KNOW
In the retail space, familiarity breeds business — regardless of loyalty offers on the part of the merchant. The data from the MasterCard survey showed that, in choosing a retailer, omnishoppers prioritize value, track record, and convenience over loyalty rewards.
RESEARCH UP, STORE COUNT DOWN
The omnishopper having access to more information than consumers ever did before about products and prices does not mean he or she will be prone to visit more merchants. On the contrary, the plethora of pre-purchase research that the modern consumer has at hand narrows the number of retailers he or she is likely to patronize. Simply put, information begets a narrower focus.
PROMOTIONS ARE WEAK SAUCE
Given the value that self-motivated product and merchant research holds for the savvy omnishopper, old-school promotions on the part of the retailer hold increasingly less stock: According to the MasterCard study, only 18 percent of respondents consider them important. If a retailer isn’t offering quality and price, promotions will go disregarded by the omnishopper.
FULL SHELVES, FULL HEARTS
Sure, shipping policies and pricing can create friction for omnishoppers — but those aren’t the ultimate deal-breakers. That title goes the very analog element of inventory, a retailers’ lack of which 73 percent of the survey respondents cited as their top point of frustration. All the modern bells and whistles in the world (including security) aren’t going to turn omnishoppers into repeat customers for retailers who can’t keep items in stock.