Shopping Trends of Today and Their Lessons for Businesses

Online shopping trend

Shopping has evolved from making purchases from physical stores to literally having the shopping cart loaded at your fingertips.  Marketing strategies, obviously, need to undergo a sea-change from then to now.  Let’s look at how the average customer today does his shopping and what marketers can learn from them to enhance and push their sales.

Mobile App is the newest baby

With the arrival of smartphones, the customer has gotten the first feel of browsing on the mobile; browsing and clicking even when away from a desktop or laptop.  As mobile screens got bigger and better, making purchases over phones and tablets got easier and more convenient.  Statistics prove that nearly 40% of website visits come from mobile devices, and the number is only expected to go up.  It is, therefore, no longer an option to create a mobile app for your store.

  • Having a mobile app for your store ensures that you remain on the customer’s mind long after he has completed his purchase.
  • Push notifications for attractive offers and deals based on the customer’s preference becomes easier.
  • Devices like Beacon communicate with apps via Bluetooth and send notifications when the customer enters the store influencing sales to a large extent.

Repeat purchases much depend on the customer’s previous shopping experience, so tweaking the mobile app to optimize the shopping experience is something that cannot be compromised upon.  An example would be to choose an appropriate font-size and keep the check-out process after a purchase short, simple and secure.

Tracking consumer behaviour on Apps becomes relevant since companies know exactly when to promote their newer products and when to offer attractive deals on the customer’s favourite products.

Does this mean that Web App has become a thing of the past?

Far from that, say the experts.  While trends suggest an upward graph for mobile users, this is in no way an indicator of consumers moving away or giving up shopping over the web.  In fact, 58% of mobile retail dollars come from the mobile web, and 42% from apps.  So, in a way, the two are evenly placed and need to be equally capable of attracting and retaining customers.

Most users switch between the two platforms and while a company can track its audience on the platforms separately, there’s a need to dot the lines between the platforms,so as to be able to follow the audience even as it makes the switch between devices to push relevant information. There are platforms specifically designed to suit this purpose.

Big data analytics like predictive intelligence play a crucial role in making shopping on the web a pleasurable experience as it tracks customer behaviour and presents relevant information in real-time.  It pays to provide the right kind of choices rather than the sheer number of choices since it leads to better conversion rates and you minimize the risk of losing your customer to competing e-commerce sites.

Again, this does not mean that the brick-and-motar stores have to shut shop

As we can see, the customer uses all the options available to him, and the only way to keep up with the all-pervasive shopping trend is to integrate all of the options and present them neatly.  The brick-and-motar shops provide the experience of actually feeling and trying out products, and this is still a huge factor in their favour.  Apps that guide the customer towards their favourite products, remember items as they browse so that they can complete the purchase later online, recommend newer products based on their previous shopping history, likes and interests, are the way forward to bring it all together for the customer.

Faster and smoother delivery options

The long waiting period between buying the product and receiving it is the biggest drawback of online shopping as far as the customer is concerned.  Companies, therefore, need to bridge this gap between the physical store and online store by offering quicker delivery options.  Along with same-day delivery options, a secure mobile payment platform like Apple Pay is further expected to help integrate the physical and virtual world of commerce.

Integrating social media to build brand image and influence conversion rates

The importance of using social media to influence sales has been much stressed upon and not without a reason. While Facebook forms a major source of traffic, the “buy” option introduced on Twitter goes to show that content marketing on social media platforms is being taken very seriously.

Ultimately, it is all about building a strong image for your brand, so quality of products still rules the roost.  Introducing loyalty points, discounted rates for frequent shoppers, transparency in deal closures and a secure platform, are all instruments to building a satisfied customer relationship.

Author : Uma Chellappa Date : 06 Jul 2015