Customers Search Online While in Stores – How Are Retailers Adjusting?
According to the latest Mastercard SpendingPulse report, retail sales during the Christmas season increased 4.9% over last year. Online sales jumped 18.1% from 2016 to 2017, but that didn’t stop shoppers from traveling to the stores.
Retailers are now facing an interesting new challenge. Even when shoppers are in the stores, they are looking up information online. They compare prices, read reviews, and look for product details that may not be available elsewhere.
“Retailers did a better job, in my opinion, since they know 82 percent of people are using an online device while shopping — and even when you have them in your store, they are searching all the time. I think retailers this year made a better effort reaching out and using that channel to their advantage,” Mastercard’s Sarah Quinlan said.
How are retailers adjusting to this shift in consumer behavior? Many have created new opportunities for shoppers to use their apps in store. For example, if you use the Kohl’s app in a Kohl’s store, you can order products that are not in stock and have them delivered to your home free of charge. You can also use in-store discounts while shopping on the app as long as you are physically in the store at the time of purchase. This encourages users to visit the store and allows them to complete purchases regardless of the store’s inventory levels.
Lowes has another example of the online/in-store crossover. When searching for a product on the Lowes website, you can see the aisle and bay number for the product. This makes it easy to navigate through the store and complete shopping quickly in person, combining the convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification of buying a product in a store.
Store-based mobile wallets like Walmart Pay and CVS Pay are further transforming the way shoppers use their phones while in a store. They can activate coupons, view previous transactions, and pay for products without the need for a physical credit card.
Retailers are adjusting to this new normal, and need to continue to make changes as online shopping continues to grow.