IDC Spotlight Report: The Power of a PX Strategy in Omnichannel Commerce

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Product Experience Strategy

Jun 21, 2023

From Clicks to Bricks: Why Omnichannel Customer Journeys Matter More Than Ever

The Akeneo 2023 Global B2C Survey revealed that customers prioritize both in-person and digital shopping experiences, highlighting the need for omnichannel, hybrid customer journeys. But it also showed that the cost-of-living crisis is squeezing wallets everywhere; businesses must learn how to provide a compelling and consistent customer experience while remaining price-conscious.

Keywords

B2C

Cost-of-living crisis

Customer Experience

Digital Commerce

eCommerce

Physical Channels

Retail Trends

As the world continues to digitize, it can become easier and easier to forget about the importance of in-person, brick-and-mortar operations.

I can have groceries delivered to my doorstep within the hour. I can take a walk-through of a new home without ever leaving my old one. I can discover, research, compare, purchase, and set up a brand new desktop computer without ever interacting with a person or stepping foot outside.

So why should you, as a brand, invest in physical channels when digital channels seem to be the cheapest and the easiest way to interact with customers?

While digital shopping has taken the world by storm, brick-and-mortar shopping experiences still play a crucial role in providing the omnichannel journey that customers crave. Simply put, consumers want the best of both worlds: the ease and convenience of online shopping, coupled with the ability to see and touch products before making a purchase.

Released just a few weeks ago, our 2023 Global B2C Survey Results Report found that consumers want an integrated, omnichannel approach to shopping, not just a digital one. From personalized digital experiences to the benefits of hybrid shopping journeys to loyalty-building in-person visits, our study uncovered the rising importance of omnichannel retail, and why businesses must embrace this trend to remain competitive in today’s market.

 

Hybrid Journeys: The Best of Both Worlds

Consumers don’t want to be confined to just the online world. Our 2023 survey found that when considering a purchase, consumers rely heavily on both store salespeople and search engines as their top sources for professional advice. While online marketplaces and search engines are the most likely places consumers use for product discovery, 20% still regularly visit retail stores in person to discover new products. What’s more, 84% of consumers have researched products online before buying in-store, and 77% have browsed products in-store but purchased online. 

Have you heard of Snapchat’s new AR Mirrors? In an update to its AR Enterprise Servies (ARES), Snap has allowed brands to offer a seamless integration between offline and online channels by allowing customers to try on virtual versions of clothes and accessories in-store. This technology not only provides a fun and engaging experience for shoppers but also enables retailers to create a truly omnichannel shopping experience that meets the needs of modern consumers.

Snapchat AR Mirrors

But Snapchat’s AR Mirrors are just one example of how retailers can incorporate technology to create a more integrated shopping experience. Brands can (and should) leverage other tools such as mobile apps, social media, and digital signage to provide personalized and targeted marketing to customers in-store, while also offering the convenience of online shopping. Almost two-thirds of consumers surveyed were interested in utilizing innovative technologies such as chatbots, voice assistants, and VR tools when shopping. Plus, 41% of consumers said they are willing to pay more for a more exciting and compelling shopping experience, and two-thirds of consumers say they would become loyal customers if a brand or retailer offered a more engaging shopping experience.

2023 B2C Survey Results   2023 Global B2C Survey Results

Our 2023 survey also found a somewhat unnerving statistic: while 71% of consumers find additional product information when they look in multiple places, a bad product information experience on any channel resulted in an abandoned purchase 60% of the time. Your customers are looking everywhere for product information, from social media pages to chatbots to retailer websites to brick-and-mortar stores and beyond, and just one bad interaction on any one of these channels can spell a lost sale.

Providing consumers with a seamless omnichannel experience across both online and in-store shopping experiences, with accurate product information, innovative technology, and a unique and personalized shopping experience is key to supporting the customer journey, and can lead to increased customer loyalty and sales.

 

Cost-of-Living Crisis: More, for Less

The 2023 B2C Global Survey also revealed that while customers today have high expectations when it comes to product information and omnichannel experiences, they’re also more price-conscious than ever given the current cost-of-living crisis. As a result, organizations must balance meeting customer expectations with affordability to maintain a positive relationship with their audience and keep costs under control. 

We found that promotion, offers, or deals made it to the list of top 3 pieces of product information across all product categories, often ranking as more important than product size, fit, or dimensions information. What does this mean? Consumers are actively seeking out ways to save money and are highly receptive to promotional offers, likely due to the uncertain economic conditions and ongoing post-pandemic recession.

2023 B2C Survey Results

The cost of living crisis has also led to a change in consumer behavior, with two-thirds (66%) of consumers now spending more time validating purchases, requiring more information before making a purchase. Consumers are looking for more detailed product information, including pricing and availability, to ensure that they are making an informed decision and getting the best value for their money.

2023 Survey Results

In recent years, consumers have placed a significant value on the quality of product information they receive, and a substantial portion of them have indicated their willingness to pay a premium for it. However, the proportion of consumers willing to pay extra has declined since the previous year’s survey (from 26.8% in 2022 to 18%), once again likely attributed to the current cost-of-living crisis. Furthermore, eight-in-ten consumers have given up on making a significant purchase, after having spent time researching it. The most common culprits for abandoned purchases? Pricing information and lack of availability.

2023 Survey Results   2023 Survey Results

While customer expectations are on the rise, the cost of living crisis and uncertain economic conditions have made price an even more critical factor for consumers. Retailers must find a balance between meeting consumer demands for high-quality products and personalized shopping experiences while also providing competitive pricing and promotional offers. Providing transparent pricing and availability information, detailed product information, and promotional offers can help retailers build trust with consumers and remain competitive in the market.

 

Embracing Clicks and Bricks

While the growth of online shopping has certainly disrupted the retail industry, in-person experiences remain a vital part of the shopping journey for many consumers. Customers expect the flexibility and convenience of online shopping, as well as the in-person experience of brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers who can successfully provide a hybrid and cohesive shopping experience that seamlessly integrates both digital and physical channels, all while remaining price-conscious, will be well-positioned to succeed in the years ahead.

In other words, the key to delivering an effective omnichannel shopping experience is to understand the needs and preferences of your customers. By leveraging technology and data, retailers can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and tailor their approach to meet their needs. By doing so, they can create a shopping experience that is seamless, convenient, and enjoyable, and build long-lasting relationships with their customers.

Want to learn more about the customer trends we identified in our 2023 study? You can download the Global B2C Survey Results Report for free today, or reach out to an Akeneo expert today to learn more.

2023 Global B2C Survey Results Report

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