PwC’s second annual global survey report of online shoppers exposes 10 myths surrounding the retail industry, pertaining specifically to multichannel consumer behavior. The survey polled 11,000 respondents in eleven countries spanning four continents to help PwC separate fact from fiction.
Below is a summary of their findings:
Myth 1: Social media will become an indispensable retail channel
Fact: Social media is not going to become an important retail sales channel anytime soon. Only 1 out of 10 respondents say they use social media sites to stay connected their favorite brands rather than shop.
Myth 2: In the future, stores will become predominantly showrooms
Fact: 1 out of 4 respondents believe brick and mortar stores play a dominant role in their path to purchase. Many multichannel customers surveyed say they research items online but prefer buying them in a physical store.
Myth 3: The tablet will overtake the PC as the preferred online shopping device
Fact: Roughly 70% of respondents never use a mobile device to shop compared to the 90% who have used a PC. While the adoption of tablets is growing, they are not likely going to catch up with PCs anytime soon.
Myth 4: As the world gets smaller, global consumers are becoming more homogenous
Fact: Think globally, act locally. This year’s data suggests that consumers in different countries are more different than they are alike. Understanding consumer preferences at the local level translates to increased sales. In fact, Oreo saw a 60% growth in annual sales when tailoring cookie favors to local tastes.
Myth 5: China is the future model for online retail
Fact: China is ahead of the digital curve in shopping, however, research shows China’s multichannel and online infrastructure is unique and cannot be scaled to other markets.
Myth 6: Domestic retailers will always enjoy a ‘home field’ advantage over global retailers
Fact: This year, there was an exponential jump in the number of global brands represented in each country’s top ten retailers. Global retailers are able to offer product assortments that meet local tastes, gaining the trust of local consumers in the process.
Myth 7: Global online pure players like Amazon will always enjoy a scale advantage over domestic online pure players
Fact: Global online retailers struggle in penetrating local markets due to little local market knowledge and lack a physical store for customers to interact with their products. Domestic online retailers are able to build brand recognition and customer loyalty making it harder for global players to compete.
Myth 8: Retailers are inherently better positioned than brands, as they are closest to the consumer
Fact: 52% of U.S. shoppers buy directly from manufactures and no longer distinguish between retailers and their brands. Brands such as Microsoft are opening their own retail locations to form stronger connections with their customers.
Myth 9: Online retail is cannibalizing sales in other channels
Fact: Multichannel shoppers spend roughly 25% more at retail locations than their single channel counterparts, debunking the myth that online stores take sales away from brick-and-mortar. Multichannel customers can expect their online and physical presences to grow in parallel.
Myth 10: Lowest price is the main driver of customer spend at their favorite retailers
Fact: The report noted a 10% increase in customer spending when retailers provide innovative marketing, fast and reliable delivery, innovative products and exclusive access to products to their customers. Customers value quality and innovative brands over price when shopping at their favorite multichannel retailers.
The right multichannel strategy is crucial for retailers to engage their customers. Those that can effectively capitalize on their multichannel approach will be well-suited to engage their consumers every step along their path to purchase, increasing sales and brand loyalty in the process.