We all know the world is going digital. However, did you know that digital technologies currently influence 36% of in-store retail sales, to the tune of $1.1 trillion, and that this number is likely to reach 50% of in-store sales by the end of 2014?
These are but two of a number of intriguing data points from Deloitte's newly released report, The New Digital Divide: Retailers, Shoppers, and the Digital Influence Factor.
A survey of over 2,000 retail shoppers across the United States conducted in late 2013, the report's primary assertion is that digital is increasingly influencing the way consumers are making shopping and purchase decisions; and they have some powerful numbers to back it up - digital across all platforms (i.e. desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones) is influencing 36% of the over $3 trillion dollars being spent across all categories of in-store retail sales; smartphones alone influence $593 billion, or 19%, of all in-store retail sales (in 2012, smartphones influenced just 5%, or $159 billion, of in-store sales).
Other data from the report underscores the influence of digital on nearly every relevant aspect of the retail consumer decision journey, from awareness and evaluation to conversion and post-conversion brand loyalty:
- 84% of visitors report using digital for shopping-related activities before or during their most recent trip to a store.
- Consumers who use a device during their shopping journey convert at a 40% higher rate.
- 22% of consumers spend more as a result of using digital - with just over half spending at least 25% more than they had intended.
- 75% of consumers said product information found on social channels influenced their shopping behavior and enhanced brand loyalty.
From the perspective of the digital consumer, the lines between online and offline have blurred; given this, most are looking for integrated shopping experiences, and retailers better take note and do something about it.
Sounds great, but what does it really mean? Being business persons and all that, most retailers I know prefer to operate in the realm of the tangible over the theoretical. What is a concrete step they (you) can take to integrate digital into the in-store experience?
Here's my solution: digital coupons. Let me make my case.
Consumers Prefer Digital Coupons
Consider the following data points from eMarketer:
- 55.0% of US internet users 18 and older will redeem digital coupons or codes via any device for online or offline shopping at least once in 2014.
- More than 70% of US adult digital coupon users will redeem a coupon or code on a mobile device for online or offline shopping in 2014.
- 48% of 92.3 million adult US internet users redeemed a digital coupon or code from any device for online or offline shopping at least one time in 2012; this jumped to 52% of 103.5 million adult US internet users in 2013; this number is projected to rise to 55% of 111.7 adult US internet users in 2014.
But how many of these digital couponers are mobile users?
- In 2012, just under half (46.4%) redeemed a digital coupon or code via mobile; in 2013, almost two-thirds (59.5%); for 2014, eMarketer projects nearly three-quarters (70.4%) will do so.
By my calculations, this means 43.25 million US internet users will have used a mobile device to redeem a digital coupon/code at least once in 2014.
And most of them will so in-store. According to Q4 2013 data from the US Census Bureau, 94% of all retail sales take place within the confines of a physical store.
I'm no marketing genius, but there seems to be a fairly obvious opportunity for bricks-and-mortar retailers here.
Consumers Want Tangible Value
This data jives with my own in-store experience. Before I actually buy anything, I generally use a combination of internet searches and feedback found on social media for information discovery.
This can take on many forms, from researching product/service information on a brand's website to reading reviews and recommendations on social media, to name a few. Sometimes I do my research before I end up in the physical store, sometimes I do while I'm in the store.
Here's the point: by the time I'm actually at a place of business, I've already armed myself with most if not all of the information an in-store sales person is likely to provide. I might ask them for help finding the exact location of a product I'm after, but that's about it.
In fact, by the time I get to the store, I don't usually want to talk to anyone - I want to get in and out ask quickly as possible. Deloitte's data suggest I am not alone in this notion. Check out the following graphic taken from the Deloitte report:
Instead of an uncomfortable interface with a chatty sales associate, I'd rather have a better deal on whatever I plan on purchasing. I want coupons and discounts, ideally in digital form, because then I'll have one less thing to worry about carrying or remembering, and I know I'll have my smartphone with me.
I would encourage all retail business owners/decision makers to read the Deloitte report and think about how you can enhance the in-store digital experience for your own customers.
For mobile-device toting consumers, the digital experience doesn't end at retail door, but where it begins in earnest. Take advantage of this new reality before your competitors do!