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Customers use up to five different channels when shopping, according to a study by research agency Shoppercentric.
Around 70% of consumers have smartphones and will use them alongside online, mobile and physical shops regularly as part of an average shopping experience.
But although the number of shoppers with smartphones has gone up, the study revealed the number of consumers using devices during the shopping experience has only increased by 9% in the past two years.
“The way in which shoppers connect with retailers has changed significantly in the past year and is set to continue to evolve at a rapid pace,” said Shoppercentric managing director Danielle Pinnington.
“As a result it’s easy to jump on the innovation bandwagon, but before taking the leap it’s important to make sure you understand whether that innovation will ease the path to purchase or whether it’s just another point of frustration for shoppers.”
The research also showed that although retailers are attempting to address these omni-channel needs through services such as click and collect, customers still expect better service across all channels.
They are also demanding more from their shopping experience, with 30% wanting shopping to be easier and 64% wanting more rewards for loyalty.
Customers also want returns to be easier, with many wanting to be able to return items bought online to a physical store and to check the stock of nearby stores online.
Only 10% of consumers have used a smartphone app for a purchase, while double that amount choose to browse a mobile site rather than an application while in-store, with 22% saying this was due to lack of Wi-Fi.
Of those using smartphones in-store, 29% said this is for price comparison purposes, while almost 20% use their phone to take pictures, share ideas or remind themselves of the products later.
“Smartphones have allowed shoppers to achieve the ultimate in self-service – they are able to manage and personalise their process to a certain degree. Yet there are times when retailers or brands could and should step in and deliver personal touches to help them get it right the first time,” said Pinnington.
“This should be where the real strengths of connected shopping come into play – the ability to set up systems which allow the shopper to easily switch between self-service and proactive assistance.”