Capgemini’s“Digital Shopper Relevancy” research report Studies shopping behavior online. Over the past decade they have surveyed tens of thousands of consumers around the globe as part of our “Consumer Relevancy” and “Future Consumer” research programs. The research helps uncover the many faces of today’s technology- enabled shopper and demonstrates that shoppers are no longer loyal to an individual channel but rather to an experience across all channels. The majority of those surveyed said they expect the seamless integration of the online, physical and mobile shopping experience by 2014.
There is no “one” digital shopper.
They identified a variety of different types of digital shoppers, each using channels and devices in different ways during their shopping journeys. Their behavior is impacted by factors such as age, gender, product category, journey phase, market maturity, and attitudes and expectations about technology. They found some overall behavioral differences, for example:
- Female shoppers: Women are generally more engaged than men when using digital channels. They are more interested than men in receiving personalized offers, recommendations and information about new products. In addition, women are more interested than men in using digital devices inside the physical store to order products that are not available in the store; they are also more interested in the ability to easily compare different products before making the final purchasing decision, and in being offered visual aids (such as “how- to” videos) to help them choose the most suitable product.
- Older shoppers: Not surprisingly, older shoppers place less importance than their younger counterparts on digital channels in general. But this doesn’t mean they don’t see value in these channels.
In particular, they are heavy users of Internet sites, especially during the early phases of the shopping journey. Older shoppers are interested in using blogs and social networks to find consumer recommendations and reviews, although they are less likely than younger shoppers to follow retailers on social media. In addition, a surprising number want to receive location-based messages and offers from retailers via digital channels. Overall, shoppers in the older age groups are less interested in using mobile apps, although they do see value in in-store technology such as kiosks and digital devices integrated into shopping carts.
The differences were less pronounced when it came to demographic factors such as education and income levels. However, demographics are only one factor impacting shopping behavior.
A detailed segmentation analysis identified six distinct segments of digital shoppers: Techno-Shy Shoppers, Occasional Online Shoppers, Value Seekers, Rational Online Shoppers, Digital Shopaholics and Social Digital Shoppers.
Each segment uses digital channels and devices in different ways during their shopping journeys. For example, Digital Shopaholics are early adopters and experimenters; they use digital channels and devices like Smartphone apps and in-store technology very actively throughout the shopping process. In contrast, Value Seekers
are price-sensitive shoppers with low interest in digital shopping and new technologies. They shop online primarily to find the best deals on products they know they want and seldom use smartphone apps, social media or in- store technology when shopping.
Digital shoppers are focused on core functionality like price, product specifications and delivery information. Digital shoppers, especially those in mature markets, want retailers and consumer products companies to get these basics right before they will be open to engage. When researching, comparing and choosing products through digital channels, half or more of respondents said that factors such as clearly marked product price, availability and delivery charges, and comprehensive product information were extremely important. Of lesser importance to respondents are options such as having content in digital channels tailored to their profile and preferences.
Shoppers also made it clear that they expect online prices to be lower than those in physical stores; this was cited by 73% of all respondents. Digital Shopaholics and Social Digital Shoppers are most likely to think online prices should be lower. More than 80% of these more digital-savvy shoppers said online prices should be lower vs. about 60% of non-digital-savvy respondents.
Separating hype from reality is critical for emerging digital channels like social media and smartphone apps. Plenty of attention is being paid by retailers, consumer products companies and the media to these new digital channels. And for good reason, given the hype surrounding them. However, it’s important to understand who is really using these channels. Overall, only about half of shoppers expect that the use of social media and mobile apps for shopping will increase in the coming three years. But the number jumps considerably in the developing markets, and among younger shoppers, Digital Shopaholics, Social Digital Shoppers and those shopping for high-end products such as electronics.
Understanding these differences is essential in determining where to make digital investments, particularly in new channels like social media and mobile apps. For example, in mature markets, companies would do better making careful, selective investments in mobile apps and social media at the moment, but in developing markets those channels are more relevant and should be the first priority for a digital strategy and investment.