digilabFor a second time, DigitasLBi has conducted a groundbreaking global survey into the emerging trends of multi-platform shopping. The study aims at uncovering the latest technology trends and consumer habits that are transforming how, where, and why we buy, revealing at the same time that when it comes to digitization, consumers are to some extend already significantly ahead of retailers.

While the latter still interpret their marketing strategy to specific sales channels, their customers are getting used to switch back and forth between channels when shopping, or even combine them, depending on the stage in the buying process. This is at least what the DigitasLBi study "Connected Commerce 2015" is pointing out, having interviewed 1000 netizens regarding their buying behavior across 17 countries – whereby Asian eMarketing is mainly interested in the results regarding Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Singapore.

According to the survey, consumers use the advantages of each specific channel: Nine out of ten consumers (86%) are initially looking for product information on the Internet for example, before the goods are finally purchased in retail stores, therefore they belong to the group of ROPOs (Research Online, Purchase Offline).

On the other hand, 69% of consumers are going first to a store to test a product, before ordering it online then. This reverse ROPO-buying behavior, called ‘showrooming’, is common practice by now for every tenth buyer. Besides, before making a purchase it is not uncommon for consumers to switch several times between online and offline channels.

As said, according to the study results of DigitasLBi, customers are leading as digital pioneers, while many retailers design their sales and advertising strategy exclusively for individual sales and advertising channels, not realizing that the purchasing behavior of consumers has already changed in the context of digitization. Therefore, dealers are most urgently advised to do their homework and start focusing again on the requirements of their customers’ demands.

The most commonly cited reason for consumers to go into a physical store is the desire to touch and try out a product (59%), while many (44%) see an advantage in being able to take a product immediately home. Some even intend to negotiate discounts or special offers in the store personally.

Especially when it comes to technology, fashion or household articles, showrooming is already standard, while this buying behavior plays a minor role in food or financial products.

use of devicesThe reasons for ROPO and Showrooming is obvious: Products with a high risk of a bad buy prompt consumers either to find out more about a product or even better to test it. This also applies to products with different price levels or a wide selection and results in more digital devices being used in retail for comparison of different offers.

Accordingly, DigitasLBi mentions digital devices as one of the strongest drivers of the purchasing process in retail: Seven out of ten respondents use laptop or PC for research at home, and others use smartphones (46%) or tablets (40%) to stay additionally informed in-store or just to buy on the go.

By Daniela La Marca