Bricks and mortar stores must adapt to digitally savvy shoppers, PCMS

Bricks and mortar stores must adapt to digitally savvy shoppers, PCMS

Demand for shopping via digital devices has migrated from online into the physical store, according to PCMS research involving 2,000 UK consumers.

Nearly 60% said they use their own smartphone, tablet or the store’s device while shopping, rising to as many as 80% of under 45s. A further 15% also choose to use digital signage, digital kiosks or interactive screens. Self-checkouts are a popular option with nearly 30% scanning their own products and a further 10% going for self-scan devices. 18-24s are the most likely to self-scan or check-out (42%).

‘Research on the move’ is becoming increasingly common; smartphones (46%) are the lead research device, with a further 29% using a tablet. 42% of consumers use a laptop, while a quarter opt for desktop. Research undertaken online ahead of purchase varies depending on the product category, with more complex or high consideration products and those where design and personal taste are factors are most likely to be researched online.

“One thing is clear is that mobile and tablets are not just transforming consumers’ online habits but are influencing the entire omnichannel journey, as shoppers access product information through multiple channels and multiple platforms often simultaneously,” says Steve Powell, Director of Sales at PCMS. “Certainly, use of digital in-store is not something that should be ignored – 70% of respondents said their use of a digital device whilst visiting a store would remain the same in the next six months, whilst a further 36% said they believed it would increase over the next 18 months.”

This represents a huge opportunity for retailers who are looking to digitalise the in-store experience by marrying the demand for online with traditional customer service, Powell argues. Giving store associates tablets, for example, allows them to instantly access product information and answer customer questions at the touch of a button, while creating that ‘human experience’ that will encourage consumers to return again and again. 

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