Shopping Becoming a Complex Series of Resources

Shopping Becoming a Complex Series of Resources

Fry, Inc., and comScore Networks jointly released the results of the first Evolution of the Multi-Channel Consumer (EMC2) study based upon the attitudes, experiences and expectations of U.S. online shoppers. The study provides new details of consumers' migration to a more complex multi-channel experience that includes in-store pickup, gift registries, store kiosks, online coupons and many other resources.

Among the findings of the study:

- 34% of consumers shop online before they ever get to the store. 39% go directly to a retailer's Web site without any prior online research. Offline media spending will need to be increasingly focused on driving people to the Web.

- 36% of shoppers have bought online and picked up in-store. 81% of these had a positive experience. Retailers not offering this option may well be left in the dust.

- One third of those picking up in-store waited more than 10 minutes for the item, although only 5% expected to wait this long. This "expectation gap" is likely to catch up with retailers who don't offer the same consistent service between online and offline storefronts.

"The degree to which shoppers now turn immediately to the Web underscores the critical role of retail site design in attracting and engaging the multi- channel consumer," noted David Fry, president and founder of Fry, Inc. "At the same time, retailers will increasingly find it worthwhile to focus offline media investments to generate consumer awareness of and interest in online storefronts."

Once consumers have initiated a shopping trip online, says the report, they unanimously expect that retailers will conveniently support the continuation of the purchase process throughout other channels. In fact, 97 percent of consumers expect a seamless shopping experience across online and offline channels.

36 percent of EMC2 respondents reported having used in-store kiosks and shopping computers. The most popular uses of kiosks included:

  • Checking product availability/location (74 percent),
  • Listening to music (73 percent),
  • Getting product/category information (68 percent)
  • Searching for gifts (68 percent)

Fewer than 50 percent of shoppers turned to kiosks for assistance with home improvement and other projects, and those that did reported less positive experiences. And of the 46 percent of shoppers that have used kiosks to place an online order, 62 percent gave the experience a positive rating.

Significant differences became apparent across product categories in shopping styles, motivations, and experiences. For example,

  • 35 percent of shoppers look to retailers for ideas and suggestions when shopping for Gifts, while only 10 percent want such assistance when buying Computers.
  • Consumers were three times more likely to to buy Home Electronics online and pick up the product in-store compared to Books, Music & Videos.

"It's no secret that online shopping behavior differs dramatically by product category, and we've now charted a similarly large degree of variation in how consumers shop different products across channels," said Dan Hess, comScore Networks senior vice president.

You can find out more here.

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