Retail consumers can be loyal but that loyalty may not last too long, according to a new survey from Adtaxi.
In fact, 76 percent of consumers that have aligned with a brand are likely to change their mind, the survey reported.
When it comes to a purchase price is still top of the list followed by quality, reputation and service. Among the study’s highlights:
● 79 percent say they typically learn about products and services by browsing online.
● 49 percent say their purchasing decisions are influenced by friends’ social media posts, closely followed by 30 percent saying their decisions are influenced by a brand or retailer they follow on social media.
● A majority (59 percent) of respondents have at least considered purchasing a product after seeing a post about it from a social media influencer.
● Over a quarter (26 percent) say their purchasing decisions are impacted by social media influencers, and 24 percent put the same level of trust in friends and influencers when it comes to product opinions.
The biggest brand in retail, Walmart, is continually announcing plans to further invest in technology to support buy online, pickup in-store, aka BOPIS — signaling that omnichannel fulfillment is an essential offering for retailers.
For example, Walmart’s recent move to bring its gigantic automated pickup towers to 100 more locations after an initial pilot showed promising results. Shoppers scan a bar code stored on their phones at pickup tower kiosks to retrieve the items they ordered online, which are stored inside the machine.
The tower deployment follows Walmart’s decision last year to offer discounts on selected items ordered online and picked up in-store, further proof that the mega-retailer is willing to invest heavily to engage online/offline shoppers for omnichannel fulfillment. What’s more, in addition to convenience-driven tools such as the pickup towers, Walmart is further prioritizing a customer-centric approach with the introduction of its recently created role, chief customer officer, which will be filled by former American Express executive Janey Whiteside. Whiteside will lead the chain’s efforts to gain new shoppers and ensure e-commerce sales don’t overpower the traffic volume in its physical stores.
These investments are no doubt based on consumers’ growing expectation that retailers with physical store outlets should offer an integrated omnichannel solution. In fact, the Kibo 2018 Consumer Trends study found that not only do 78 percent of shoppers use BOPIS, but 49 percent are willing to remain loyal to brands offering the service.
On the flip side, 55 percent will switch retailers if their preferred fulfillment method isn’t available, and 80 percent report they’re less likely to shop with a retailer whose website doesn’t provide information about local inventory availability. Furthermore, shoppers expect BOPIS to be ultra-convenient and fast. More than half of shoppers said they used the service because they needed items that day, according to research by Bell and Howell, and 56 percent said a quick in-and-out experience was important when picking up orders.
Walmart is striving to meet those expectations for immediacy and convenience by placing their towers in the front of the store, with self-service functionality that completely circumvents pickup counters and their attendant lines. Together with Amazon’s diverse experiments in checkout-free shopping, Walmart’s pickup towers represent a vision of the shopping future that is quick, convenient, and devoid of human interaction.
And therein lies the rub. Close to 60 percent of BOPIS users currently report making additional purchases in-store, according to Bell and Howell — but merchants fear frictionless experiences like Walmart’s that barely bring shoppers inside the store may jeopardize such add-on purchases. And automated processes that replace store staff endanger the one-to-one interactions that can foster sales and loyalty.
That doesn’t mean merchants should fight innovations that streamline buy online, pickup in-store fulfillment or, worse, manufacture a meandering pickup process in the hopes of luring shoppers into additional store purchases. We know a poor store experience will only make any future brand interaction less likely.
Instead, merchants should deliver first and foremost on the promise of BOPIS convenience, and then capitalize on the positive experience with savvy promotions that encourage shoppers to return for further purchases.
Utilize personalization to deliver time-sensitive offers
The benefits of personalization extend well beyond cross-sells and up-sells on the e-commerce site — and buy online, pickup in-store represents a ripe opportunity to reach existing customers with highly relevant offers, converting self-service pickup stops into additional store purchases.
For example, based on order history and store pickup location, merchants should look to deliver in-store coupons for items that complement the order, good for a limited time. Such offers can be delivered to mobile devices or included in BOPIS packaging. As well, enticing consumers with invitations to attend store events or try in-store services such as personal shopping consultations can help drive foot-traffic to stores. Real-time shopping alerts can also support BOPIS efforts by highlighting items of interest that are in low supply on the store shelves, or new items in the customer’s preferred size or style that have just arrived in-store. Alerts can also include calling out brands or products that are trending on social media and available in the store.
Award BOPIS customers store loyalty points.
Merchants should not only invite BOPIS customers to join loyalty programs, but they should consider using bonus points strategically to encourage subsequent return visits and purchases. As a starting point, sellers can offer bonus points to those who use in-store pickup as a means of passing along savings on last-mile delivery.
Once BOPIS customers enroll, merchants can then promote further opportunities to re-engage and earn rewards, such as rating the store pickup experience, signing up for in-store events, or redeeming store-specific coupons.
With shoppers’ convenience a prime imperative, retailers must accompany BOPIS with ultra-relevant promotions to drive supplemental in-store sales and long-term engagement. If done correctly, retailers can effectively drive additional foot traffic to their stores and create loyal and repeat customers by offering a quick yet enhanced customer experience.