Retailers that win in today’s changing retail landscape have put aside what they think they know to listen to what shoppers actually want. Understanding this empowered, connected shopper’s wants and needs should be multifaceted — and that’s why we conducted new, multilayered research to get a true pulse on today’s shopper.
For the second edition of the “Shopper-First Retailing” report, Salesforce and research partner Publicis.Sapient, the new report reveals where and how shoppers are interacting, where they experience the most friction, and what their behaviors mean for retailers. These trends impact every retailer or brand — regardless of size or segment, as shopper choice increasingly dictates the retail landscape.
Here are five primary findings from the research
Brands and marketplaces are squeezing out retailers
Marketplaces received top scores when it comes to price, product variety, product availability, and inspiration. Brands win shoppers’ preference when it comes to product quality, innovation, and uniqueness. Retailers must lean into their service strengths by modernizing tactics through emerging tools like video chat or always-on chatbots. They should also aim to improve shoppers’ perception of product quality and availability.
Marketplaces are winning the second purchase and shopper loyalty
Growing loyalty and sustaining a long-term shopper relationship (and revenue stream) is the goal of every retailer and brand. Consumers were asked “Imagine you want to buy something you’ve never bought before. Where are you most likely to go?” Between the choice of retailers, brands, and marketplaces like Amazon, consumers said they made 50% of first-time purchases from retailers, followed by marketplaces (31%) and brands themselves (19%).
Next consumers were asked, “Now imagine you want to buy it again. Where are you most likely to go?” This is where the story changes: When it comes to repeat purchases, marketplaces handily beat retailers, with 47% of repeat purchases made on marketplaces, followed by retailers (34%) and brands (20%).
The second purchase is today’s battleground. Agility, loyalty, and personalization are imperative for retailers and brands to differentiate and win the second purchase. Unforgettable experiences and products can’t be commoditized.
Shoppers use mobile in-stores at an unprecedented rate — but mobile store experiences lag behind
The brick-and-mortar store is far from passé: 46% of shoppers still prefer to buy in a physical store, vs. 35% for laptops, and 18% for mobile phones.
Additionally, 71% of shoppers say they’re now using their mobile devices in-stores (83% for shoppers aged 18-44) — up from 62% in 2017. Shopper activities while using mobile in-stores are diverse, from purchasing to reading reviews.
Fast retail is here: Shoppers prefer retailers that can move at their speed
Fast fashion only tells part of the story. The research found that meeting shoppers’ expectations is now about fast retail — offering shopping journeys, transactions, and experiences that move at the speed of the shopper: 69% of consumers say it’s important or very important to see new merchandise each time they visit a store or shopping site.
Additionally, 75% of consumers’ site search queries are brand new each month, showing just how fast consumers are discovering new product types, brands, and features. Within the top 5% of best-selling products on ecommerce sites, the majority of them (59%) change monthly. That means retailers and brands can’t sleep on analyzing shopper searches and delivering the ever-changing items they seek in real time.
On the product side, 59% of shoppers say they’re more likely to buy from brands that offer customized products.
Leading brands lead with values, personalisation, and service
Shoppers reward brands that go beyond transactions, dollar signs, and orders to bring relevance and resonance to the relationship.
- 45% of shoppers are more likely to buy if the retailer/brand gives a charitable donation with their purchase.
- 6% of ecommerce visits that include engagement with AI-powered recommendations drive an outsized 37% of revenue.
- During Cyber Week 2017, shoppers logged five cases for every one knowledge-base view. As Christmas approaches, shoppers seek direct support, but knowledge bases and self-serve options (like forums and chatbots) are increasingly preferred by customers. Empower customers to find their own answers — they’ll take advantage of it.