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Retailers Digital Guide to 2016

Retailers Digital Guide to 2016

The digital age has changed how we shop. But that doesn’t mean retailers should completely change your marketing strategy, merely adapt it to a new era. Here are some stats and tips to help you make that transition:

Retailers Guide to the Digital Age, Infographic

A retailer’s website is the face of their brand

Your brand is still as important as ever, the digital age has just changed how you express it. That means understanding the different online channels that customers use to purchase from your store. It also means keeping your brand message consistent throughout. Why is that so important?

About 85% of consumers search for local businesses online to start their purchasing journey. That means that your brand almost always starts with your website. Put in the effort to create an attractive design and website copy that stay true to your core message.

Your brand doesn’t stop at your website though. Customers also use social media to learn more about a company. Your posts reveal how your business deals with customers, as well as what political or social beliefs you publicly hold, if any. Curate your social media properties so you’re always posting messages in line with your brand.

With all the digital tools available to convert customers, you have to ensure that your messaging in those platforms accurately represents your business. When writing online coupons, marketing emails, and all other forms of e-communication, you should have a consistent tone and feel so customers develop a comfort with your product.

Customers use mobile and other online devices to shop

Customers don’t just use their computers at home to make a decision, they’re looking at their smartphones too. Close to 85% of store visitors use their mobile devices before or during a shopping trip. In fact, 22% of those consumers spend more as a result of using digital channels.

Three out of every four of those shoppers who find local information in those search results are more likely to visit those stores. Target your website to appear in local searches and get these local consumers to come to your store.

They aren’t just looking at home though, as they’re checking their smartphones for info about you while in your store, too. Those aged 25-34 in particular lead the way when it comes to in-store price comparisons, review reading, and brand engagement.

Mobile apps and brand emails are useful for retailers

When thinking about what digital tools are effective, it’s important to look at what goal you want to achieve. The purchase point is the most important, but the digital age has changed how that works, even within your physical store.

Customers are constantly using smartphones in your store to research what they want to buy. They will go to your site close to half the time. To take advantage of those visits, stock your website with all the product listings you have in your store. Make sure your product descriptions are accurate and enticing so customers are influenced to buy them in your store.

When it comes to what tools consumers are using to access digital purchase points, brand emails have a high conversion rate. Using printable coupons is another great way to entice customers. Giving them incentives related to products they’re already thinking about purchasing will help you stand above and beyond the competition.

Shopping apps are another effective tool in the digital age. Customers will look at your company’s app in-store about a third of the time, and will look at a competitor’s app at about 25%. While it can be expensive to develop your own app, getting listed in directories and other listing apps can be a great way to develop a new market.

Using social media to increase customer engagement

The majority of marketers are using social media more than 6 hours a week, clearly showing its importance as a customer engagement tool. Counting your fans and followers is a basic way to measure a business’s social engagement. But a business’s social media presence is far more nuanced.

You should do more than just offer up info and basic posts. Seventy-four percent of people rely on social networks to help guide purchasing decisions. That means that your social media presence can bring in droves of customers or scare potential clients away. Nearly 80% of people follow Facebook brand pages to get discounts and coupons, so use promotions through your Facebook page specifically.

The demographics of consumers that shop online

Shoppers interested in e-commerce are more heavily concentrated in developing markets. They understand how much simpler e-commerce makes their day-to-day purchasing habits. Many people in these markets are skipping the inconveniences of making physical trips, preferring to utilize the power of choice on their phone.

These digital shoppers also trend young. Over half are millennials, who also spend more money shopping online than older adults despite the fact that they usually have less income.

Capturing these millennials requires a bit more work though, as 72% of them research and shop their options online before going to a physical store or to the mall.

It’s worth it to do that extra work. Online shoppers tend to live in households with higher-than-typical incomes. 55% of US online shoppers live in households with incomes above $75,000 and 40% in those above $100,000.

When it comes to gender differences in terms of who uses that income, the stats go against conventional wisdom. While women traditionally control the majority of household spending, e-commerce purchases are virtually a 50/50 split between the two. Don’t make assumptions about the value of your online offerings based on gender, as you could be throwing away market share.

Mobile Millennials

Different online devices the customer uses in their purchasing path

The digital age has changed every step of the customer’s purchasing journey. With all the different ways customers can familiarize themselves with a product or service online, the ways in which you influence their purchasing decisions are endless.

As you saw earlier, there are many tools that customers use to get in contact with potential purchases on your website. But they still need to have a good experience using your website before they feel comfortable buying anything.

98% of customers switch devices within a single day, meaning they could look at your website on their PC, phone and tablet. Think about how your site looks on all these different devices, and make sure your user experience is consistent throughout. That’s because two out of every three smartphone users say a mobile-friendly site makes them more likely to buy a company’s product or service. Make your site responsive and gain some favorability.

Make sure your brand is perceived the right way online. 72% of customers trust online reviews, so make sure you are leaving current customers satisfied. What’s more, 90% of mobile searches lead to action. Depending on what users see from your site with respect to their search, they could walk into your store right after. Target some of your offers by location to really drive up the action.

While many customers respond to digital tools, there’s a gap in terms of what stores are offering them. While online or mobile coupons and mobile shopping lists are used by 15-20% of consumers, about two-thirds would be willing to use them. A similar gap exists when it comes to using in-store computers and Wi-Fi to receive information as well as scan QR codes.

This great tool from Google helps you determine how your marketing channel influences the purchasing decision depending on your size, industry, and location. Enter some basic information and learn which marketing channels are effective for your business.



Transitioning to the digital era will require lots of effort and a re-examination of your business. You’ll need to adapt it but once you do, you’ll be prepared to cater to shoppers in the digital age.

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