Technological advancements have impacted every area of our lives, and many transitions to the more digitally-focused world have been gradual, almost unnoticeable. But what have these technologies done to our shopping habits?
Between the years 2015 and 2017, there was an 85% increase in mobile search for footwear reviews. This highlights that buyers want to learn more before they buy. Together with Frank Wright, a British footwear brand that offers high-quality black derby shoes, we take a look at how shopping has changed over the years and what retailers are doing about it due to continuous technological advancements.
The changing way we make purchasing decisions
Nowadays, people are heading online for inspiration on a purchase instead of window shopping. In a survey conducted by PwC, 37% of respondents stated that social media was the first choice when looking for online inspiration for their purchases.
This behaviour has paved the way for social media influencers and celebrity endorsements too. In fact, the search term ‘influencer marketing’ experienced a 325% increase in searches between 2016 and 2017 — demonstrating company and agency interest in the new technique.
It has been noticed that when shopping online, more people are becoming more specific with the search terms they use – as revealed by Google. Rising search terms between 2015 and 2017 included ‘kids light up shoes’ and ‘men’s Italian dress shoes’. This is possibly because we often know precisely what product we desire and are confident that our search will yield relevant results due to the vast amount of information available on the internet.
By visiting a website and buying with the click of a button, it’s evident that consumers can now follow a simpler purchasing process than in the past. As well as this, the customer now can interact with a retailer in an increased number of ways. This potential user-to-business engagement allows an individual to connect more with a brand, through social media contact and additional communication channels (such as live chat and 24/7 phone lines), than ever before.
Are more people purchasing online?
In contrast to the reports that physical stores were once falling, PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey shows that the number of weekly high street shoppers is up from 40% in 2015 to 44% in 2018. This could be due to people using shopping as a social activity.
But what new opportunities does this bring to retailers? With high street shopping more of a social activity, retailers with physical stores now have the chance to reduce their stock levels on-site and use the newfound space to create a more enjoyable, sensory experience for shoppers.
A mobile-first purchasing experience
Statistics from the same survey show that mobile commerce more than doubled between 2013 and 2018, rising from 7% to 17%. It’s even looking likely that mobile shopping sales will soon surpass PC-based buying, which is currently at 20%. This highlights that more people are utilising their phones to make a purchase, emphasising the importance of a mobile-friendly customer experience.
The increase in mobile commerce suggests that less people are trying before they buy, as they would in a store. This is a result of seamless delivery and returns processes from many online retailers. A method that’s effective in encouraging customers to order their products first and then try them at home. Customers are getting used to the convenient delivery service, too. In fact, 25% of customers said that they wouldn’t continue with their orders if one-day delivery wasn’t available.
Due to continuous advancements, what is in store for the future?
With a wider availability of products than ever before, alongside quick service, it appears technology has changed shopping forever. And as a result, we’ve seen the demise of some high street stores as they struggle to keep up with the requirements of consumers in the digital age. So, what does the future look like for the shopping industry?
It’s likely that influencer marketing will remain popular, and perhaps grow further with the widespread use of social media. But, due to the rapid speed of technological advancements, it’s hard to predict exactly what’s around the corner.
It’s also possible that we could receive products even quicker with some online retailers discussing the possibility of a 30-minute drone delivery — 40% of customers believe this would be a cheaper and more convenient method too!
Author: Laura-Jane Todd is a copywriter at digital marketing agency, Mediaworks. After graduating with a degree in Marketing from Newcastle University in July 2017, Laura-Jane took on the role as copywriter in August of the same year. She uses her creative skills to write unique content for a range of clients from various industries.