The Evolving Customer Experience
eMarketer ran an article on particular in-store vs. online shopping habits that highlights some challenges and opportunities that retailers are facing as consumers use of the internet, particularly when enabled by a smartphone, continues to change how they shop.
While the first chart in the article highlights why there is such intense competition of generic search terms among retailers (answer: because that is how shoppers are predominantly searching — nearly 3 out of 4 times they do not have a specific brand in mind, which has its own implications for branding), we found the second chart in the article particularly interesting. As shown below, shoppers expect fairly seamless integration between bricks-and-mortar locations and retailers’ sites (mobile and regular/full). The ability to tightly integrate information between these two channels may create interesting competitive advantages — whether the advantages are sustainable or not is another question — for the retailers that best solve this problem. The subtext to all of this increased information is greater price transparency. Price transparency will ultimately be good for consumer and perhaps the low cost provider, but generally it will be hard on the margins of retailers.