Online shoppers are seeking refined, informed experiences from brands physically and digitally.

In order to capture a snapshot of varying online shopping behaviors found within different demographics, Astound Commerce surveyed consumers within five different age groups during June 2017. A wide range of incomes were represented in the survey — the gender split was even as well. The global digital commerce agency released the results of the survey in its “2017 Global Brand Shopper Survey: Digital and In-Store Insights” report.

The survey confirmed that consumers of all ages are shifting their purchasing to online platforms. The study found that 60 percent of digital consumers make over 20 percent of purchases online. What’s more, online shoppers are ready and willing to spend. “The majority (58 percent) of online shoppers have visited five or more brand manufacturer web sites. Millennials are most aggressive as 67 percent visited five or more brand manufacturer web sites over the past six months,” said the report.

And while social media continues to be a growing factor that draws consumers, particularly Millennials, new technologies are serving as tools to maintain the shoppers. The survey found that females are more interested in sizing functions where males find virtual reality and try-on features as key online functions. Forty-six percent of females and 37 percent of males of all ages found that sizing tools that assist in selecting the right product was important.

Though 25 percent of men found that virtual reality for evolved shopping experiences to be key, Millennials in general found the technology — and other software to improve the shopping journey — to be important. Thirty-two percent of Millennials named VR as important for new experiences — 36 percent found that visual try-on tools for apparel and accessories were integral features.

Deploying artificial intelligence to surface accurate product recommendations will be pertinent for retailers to maintain Millennial shoppers. Forty-five percent of the demographic found that product finders to help their selection of the right item to be important.

Data collection has never been so important for brand and retailer survival in the continuously building competitive climate. “The areas of prime importance relative to multibrand retailers starts with information. The expectation that the web will be the broadest and most comprehensive information source likely means an in-depth shopper experience with complete and up-to-date information,” authors of the report noted. “Better prices is always high on every shopper’s wishlist. This is especially seen as realistic with brands given that the product is coming direct from manufacturers.”

The omnichannel experience is beginning to reach consumer expectations — but that’s not sufficient. The survey found that across the board brand performance is generally status quo. More than half of shoppers all noted that brand direct-to-consumer web sites offered a larger variety of inventory with heightened customer service and improved product information.

In order to ensure that web sites exceed customer expectation, the survey provided several tactical recommendations. “Start with expected standards and put those in place prior to testing new shiny objects. Be sure to take a category-centric approach to your brand integrating tools that can serve as differentiators. Think holistically, starting with merchandising but ensure exemplary customer service in order to deliver a powerful end-to-end performance,” said the report.

More from WWD:

Consumer Confidence Increases Across Markets

Millennials Drive Up Luxury Accessory Sell-Outs

As AI Becomes Commonplace, Customer Service Gets Facelift

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