Study: 33% Of In-Store Purchases Start Online — And 25% Of Online Purchases Start In-Store

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that online activity influences consumers’ brick-and-mortar purchases, but the traffic isn’t all one-way. While one in three in-store purchases start online, one in four online purchases start in-store, according to the Month in the Life of a Shopper 2019 report from The Hershey Company. Additionally, the average shopper makes a combined 60 online and offline trips per month across 17 retailers — so capturing a larger share of these trips means maximizing the value proposition in both channels.

“First and foremost, it's important to evaluate how you're performing across the core tenets of what we've defined as the shopper value equation: spend, time and experience,” said Tony Mardegain, Director, Retail Snacking Experience Team (ReSET) at Hershey in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “What is your unique place in shoppers' lives? What are the areas where you're already doing well? Can you lean in further?”

ReSET advises against a one-size-fits all approach, but the start of every retailer’s journey is recognizing that overall, 87% of all purchases start online — an environment where shoppers will quickly abandon a retailer if they can’t find what they’re looking for.

“Navigation helps consumers browse the digital and physical shelf,” said Mardegain. “Category management fundamentals like aisle flow, usage occasion and brand placement are applicable both online and in-store. Transposing aisle flow and shelf organization from the physical world to digital environments is key to creating a seamless experience.”

Make Shopping Seamless, Or Customers Will Move On

The similarities between e-Commerce and brick-and-mortar still hold for impulse purchases made without research beforehand. Shoppers see the retailer they are purchasing from, not the individual channels they are using, even when their journey doesn’t involve multiple touch points. Companies need to keep their teams connected to ensure a consistent pay point experience across the entire business.

“Shoppers aren't going to pick up their favorite snack at the end of a shopping trip, be it online or off, if what they are looking for isn't there,” said Mardegain.

The need for a seamless environment continues after the time of purchase as well. Retailers should encourage reviews by making the process quick and simple, regardless of where the purchase was made. User-generated content is an important part of the overall decision-making process in both channels:

  • 56% of shoppers read reviews before making an online purchase; and
  • 46% of shoppers read reviews before making an in-store purchase.

Making it easy for shoppers to write, read and share reviews helps improve engagement for returning customers, and encourages newcomers to check out retailers they haven’t used before. Conversion rates are nearly 30% higher when sites contain user-generated content.

In-Store Displays Benefit From Online Practices

One area that is particularly important in-store but still involves e-Commerce is presenting memorable displays. They must be designed with the shopper at the center, combining categories to create a coherent and memorable experience rather than focusing on promoting certain goods.

“We draw a lot of inspiration from our owned Hershey's Chocolate World retail locations, and they have seen success building displays around occasions, like ‘hot cocoa sipping’ in the winter,” said Mardegain. “There are food items on the display, but there are also fuzzy socks, blankets, fun stirrers and more. In this case, you are building a full experience for the shopper and inspiring them to have fun and build connection with their families.”

This is an area where brick-and-mortar retailers have room for improvement: only 24% of shoppers rated their usual stores highly on the metric of “retailer I look forward to shopping at.” Mardegain suggested that these retailers take a cue from their e-Commerce counterparts, and build out displays based on recommendations that go along with the centerpiece product.

Retailers also can benefit from increased collaboration with manufacturers. The combination of insights derived from retail loyalty programs and manufacturer marketing data can help retailers set up their stores and web sites in a way that maximizes their impact.

“Unlocking growth in this competitive marketplace is going to take next-level collaboration, including insights and data sharing,” said Mardegain. “We’re investing in deeper snacking insights to position our retail partners for success. Understanding how and why consumers snack is shaping our innovations in products, packaging, services and shopper experiences.”


Study: 66% Of Retailers Say Inaccurate Inventory Data Creates BOPIS Inconsistency

Retailers are well aware that an omnichannel approach to both the customer experience and their internal systems is now a basic business requirement: 94% of retailers already have, or plan to implement, a single unified commerce platform within three years, up from 81% in 2017, according to the 2019 POS/Customer Engagement Study from BRP.


Balance Convenience And Experience To Create The Ultimate Holiday Destination

Despite the growing dominance of mobile, shoppers still enjoy shopping in-store. What’s changed, however, is their expectations around the brick-and-mortar experience, according to a pair of studies by GPShopper. Some shoppers highly prize stores’ convenience — the ability to quickly find an item, pay for it and go. Others respond to experiential retail; they are more willing to linger and browse until they find what they want. Retailers can adjust their stores’ layout, staffing and services to address both ends of this spectrum.


Getting Physical: Three Tips For Bridging Online And Offline Experiences In The New Year

0aaaCarl Tsukuhara OptimizelyRecently Wayfair and Casper joined the likes of fellow e-Commerce brands Amazon, Everlane, Glossier and many others that are all experimenting with, or opening permanent, brick-and-mortar stores. However, with many traditional retail stores closing shop in the last year, it's even more imperative to integrate offline and online channels to provide a consistent experience across all touch points.

These digitally-born businesses are in a battle with Amazon to retain customers by offering a great in-store experience at a reasonable cost, all while avoiding the mishaps Build-a-Bear and others recently encountered. In fact, while 87% of consumers say they expect an omnichannel experience, only 7% of retailers actually provide the ability to shop seamlessly across all channels.


Smartphones Generate 49% Of Thanksgiving Weekend Traffic

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday and Cyber Monday were powerhouse days for retail this year, racking up online sales of more than $20.8 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. Individual days’ e-Commerce sales and growth rates were:

  • Thanksgiving: $3.7 billion in revenue, up 27.9%;
  • Black Friday: $6.2 billion in revenue, up 23.6%;
  • Small-Business Saturday: $3 billion in revenue, up 25.5%; and
  • Cyber Monday: $7.9 billion in revenue, up 19.9%.

Looking For A Competitive Advantage? Don’t Overlook Your Supply Chain

0aaaKarl Siebrecht FLEXEBy 2021, 71% of logistics leaders believe their supply chain will be a key driver of quality customer service. But there’s a disconnect. Fewer than half of those same leaders view the supply chain as a key brand differentiator. We’re living and operating in the age of the consumer. Today, customer demands influence business decisions more than they ever have before. How companies deliver their goods, the experiences and value-added services they provide are now as important as the product itself.

Shoppers want options and personalization. Companies like Stitch Fix and Imperfect Produce differentiate themselves by adding more value to the customer through their logistics. Stitch Fix delivers curated clothing and a personalized note from the stylist in every box. They also offer convenient try-on-and-exchange options to make the purchasing experience effortless. Imperfect Produce salvages ugly fruit and vegetables that otherwise wouldn’t make it to store shelves and delivers it to customers’ front doors. Subscribers can select the produce they want, including type, amount and where it’s sourced, and Imperfect will total how many pounds of food waste they save each week.


Interacting With In-Store Technology Boosts Brand Confidence For 46% Of Shoppers

Technology has made brick-and-mortar retail more convenient than ever, but it can also be a point of friction for shoppers: more than 80% of consumers have encountered technical issues at stores and restaurants, and 60% have had multiple encounters with technical problems, according to The Digital Forward Customer Experience report by Boomtown. However, the advantages of tech outweigh the downsides, and even pure play e-Commerce retailers are embracing an omnichannel approach.

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