Mobile’s influence on physical is growing
A recent survey by Deloitte of 2,000 customers found smartphones influencing 19 percent of sales at physical stores. That’s up from only five percent in 2012.
At the session entitled, "The New Digital Divide," at the NRF Big Show, Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail and distribution leader at Deloitte, said such findings show that retail needs to rethink how it "measures, organizes and invests in both digital and physical."
The survey held strong implications for the link between digital and in-store traffic, with 84 percent claiming they use a mobile device either before or during a shopping trip. For those using a digital device, the conversion rate was 40 percent higher at the store. With cross-sell and upsell, order size was 22 percent higher for digital-wielding in-store shoppers. Eight in 10 prefer to use their device or a kiosk versus talking to an actual human being in a store.
Overall, digital technologies — including PCs, tablets and smartphones — influences 36 percent of in-store sales and that will likely increase to 50 percent by the close of 2015, according to Deloitte’s research.
Ms. Paul said part of the problem is that digital is often thought of as e-commerce only. The mobile team similarly is often only responsible for the less than two percent of sales that go through a mobile phone.
Shopping cart abandonment is also becoming a more nebulous statistic. Many customers browse with no intention of buying online, but that online experience eventually brings them to a store to make that purchase.
Ms. Paul said such findings show not only that "digital should no longer be a separate part of retail" but also that customers should be measured "across the entire journey" rather than with a particular emphasis on one part or another.
Among her suggestions for bridging the digital divide:
- Tailor the digital strategy to the store. Deloitte research shows that digital influences twice as much of sales in the electronics category than in general merchandise;
- Deliver a consistent brand experience across physical and digital;
- Embrace social media with a "creative and confident approach to promoting relevant product," and don’t underestimate friends & family recommendations, which she considers often "even more critical than a great sales clerk";
- Focus on "creating shopper journey tools, not just conversion engines" by understanding that different features and functions will be sought at different parts of the journey.
What changes might operators of physical stores need to make to adapt to digital’s growing influence of in-store shopping? Do you see an easy path to rethinking related measurement, organization and investments?