Jan. 14, 2013 – As retailers reinvent their in-store shopping experience in the face of the continued rise of e-commerce, research released today by Cisco found that digital content from the Internet is the most powerful influence in buying decisions for the majority of shoppers in all channels.  The third annual Cisco study of consumers found that on-line ratings and reviews were the most influential source for making purchasing decisions, and that shoppers increasingly want access to digital content in stores through a variety of devices. The study recommends different ways that retailers can present digital information to better influence shoppers' buying behavior -- and win higher revenue in the store.

"It's now very clear: consumers prefer to shop through bits and bytes, with the majority of shopping behaviors and expectations shaped by online sources," said Dick Cantwell, vice president and global lead, Retail, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group. "To shift shoppers into buyers, retailers need to merge online and physical services to meet the demands of today's digital shoppers."

The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) study, titled "Catch and Keep Digital Shoppers," examined technology-based shopping behaviors and their impact on the retail industry.  The study found a majority of shoppers, categorized as "Digital Mass Market," have advanced beyond the capabilities of many retailers.  These shoppers expect stores to operate with the same information, transparency and speed as their favorite website, and two-thirds are interested in personalized shopping experiences when visiting a store.  Shoppers overwhelmingly prefer in-store self-service access to digital content (85 percent), with one in three using mobile searches to guide their purchasing decisions – up 20 percent from last year.

The Cisco study surveyed 5,000 shoppers across five countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico and China. Key results of the U.S. portion of the survey include:

Shoppers demand more access to digital content in stores

  • 78 percent of all shoppers use the Internet to research and purchase products and services.
  • 71 percent of shoppers want to access digital content in the store.
  • Shoppers have equal preference to obtaining such content through retailer touchscreens or via personal devices.
  • Digital shoppers are more demanding than ever, with 60 percent now expecting more value in their shopping experience.  Of these shoppers, 53 percent expect greater price visibility, 37 percent want easier ways to find products, and 39 percent desire faster/easier way to purchase products.

Online resources have strong influence in shoppers' buying decisions

  • Of all the information sources that influence today's buying decisions, online ratings and reviews on retailer websites are cited as most influential in purchase decisions by 52 percent of respondents, followed by advice from friends and family (49 percent).
  • In the last two years, expert online reviews by consumer groups, expert buyers, and bloggers, increased 13 percent in purchase influence to 42 percent.
  • Shoppers prefer online ratings and reviews by a 4:1 margin over advice from store employees.

Changing how consumers shop: more desire for mobile, self-service access to information and personalized services

  • 65 percent of shoppers research online and purchase in store – up from 57 percent last year.
  • The "show-rooming" shopping journey that begins with in-store research and ends with online purchasing was pursued by 40 percent of respondents – roughly the same as last year.  
  • Cross-channel shopping journeys involving mobile devices rose on average by 20 percent from last year; mobile search to in-store or online purchase is now actively used by 29 percent and 33 percent of shoppers, respectively.
  • 85 percent of shoppers want self-service access to digital content.  Only 4 percent of shoppers want to rely on help from store employees all the time.
  • While two-thirds of shoppers are interested in personalized shopping experiences, they do expect opt-in / opt-out control, and they prefer retailers to use transactional types of data.

 

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