Consumers consider social media a less important part of their customer journey – from awareness, through to post-sale activity – compared to two years ago, a new global report released by Capgemini reveals.
The second edition of the global “Digital Shopper Relevancy Report” surveyed over 18,000 digital shoppers from 18 countries to provide insight into the changing nature of shoppers’ online retail habits.
According to the report, less importance is being placed on following retailers on social media, finding out about new products through blogs, and participating in online retail customer communities compared to 2012. The study, however, found that smartphone shopping has grown in importance over the same period and that the Internet is now globally the preferred channel to inform retail decisions, with 75 per cent of consumers saying it was important or very important to shopping research.
"Despite the surge in Facebook’s ad revenues and marketing innovations like Twitter’s new ‘Buy’ button, there is definitely a question mark over where and how ‘social’ fits into the shopper journey," said Kees Jacobs, Global Digital Proposition Lead, Capgemini Digital Customer Experience. "Social media is most relevant in the ‘awareness’ and ‘choice’ phases of shopping journeys (which is especially the case in fashion) but much less in ‘transaction, delivery and post-sales’. Our report suggests that retailers still have work to do at every stage of the purchasing journey in order to make social media play a useful, valuable role in buying a product or service.
Meanwhile, Capgemini’s survey shows that for point-of-sale the physical store is still the favored destination for global shoppers, but only just, with the Internet trailing slightly. When carrying out retail transactions, 72 percent of shoppers see the store as important or very important compared to 67 percent for the Internet.
Only 14 percent of shoppers strongly indicate that physical stores have become less important for them. However, in the future, the majority of shoppers (51 percent) say they will spend more money online than in-store. In addition to the smartphone’s ubiquitous growth, in-store digital interactions are popular among shoppers, suggesting that the introduction of more technology into retail stores would be a welcome shift for the consumer.
Sector-wise, the fashion industry has registered a 9 percent growth in online purchasing preference, suggesting that apparel companies have made significant strides when it comes to engaging consumers across digital channels
There is an expectation that the online price will be lower than in-store or even in catalogues: 72 per cent agree or strongly agree.
In terms of future innovation, shoppers agree that QR codes (45 percent), Internet of Things e.g intelligently connecting devices such as ‘smart’ fridges (44 percent) and Wearable Devices such as Google Glass or Apple Watch (42 percent) will grow in importance in the shopping journey.