Digital personalization could help brick-and-mortar retailers turn browsers into buyers
Shoppers may still prefer the store for most purchases, but digital plays a big role before they decide what shops to enter.
In April 2015 research by Google and TNS, 55% of US internet users said they became aware of products on the internet via websites and apps, vs. 38% who cited the store.
When May 2015 polling by Adroit Digital asked internet users in North America about how frequently they researched digitally before making a purchase in-store, nearly four in 10 millennials said they did so always or often, and an additional 28% at least sometimes. Results were similar among respondents 35 and older, with 39% researching online often or always before buying at a brick-and-mortar, and 27% doing so at least sometimes.
Still, when it came time to choose the primary location/channel where they browsed for retail purchases, around six in 10 Adroit respondents from both the 18-to-34 and 35-and-older groups cited the store. In comparison, just over one-quarter from each group primarily used PCs, while mobile sites and apps didn’t even break double digits.
To turn in-store browsers into buyers, brick-and-mortar retailers must provide a stellar experience; boosting engagement based on customer data and creating tailored experiences can help. Adroit found that satisfying today’s digital consumers’ desire for personalization when they’re in-store could boost brick-and-mortar sales. Fully 85% of respondents ages 18 to 34 and 35 and older said they would be more likely to make a purchase if they saw something personalized to their interests on an in-store beacon or digital display. In both age groups, males were more interested in this technology than females.
However, other research suggests retailers should tread lightly when implementing in-store personalization if they want to avoid being seen as creepy. In April 2015 polling by RichRelevance, just 25.8% of US internet users thought that digital screens displaying prices that were tailored to them were cool, vs. 41.8% who said this was creepy. And when asked about having digital screens in each dressing room that provided personalized product recommendations based on current items and past purchases, 54.8% viewed this as creepy, compared with 25.1% who thought it was cool.