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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Study focuses on digital technologies in shopping experience

Sunday January 10 2010

Breakout digital shopper marketing survey to focus on impact of digital technologies in shopping, purchase decisions  

Breakout digital shopper marketing survey to focus on impact of digital technologies in shopping, purchase decisions


To help better understand the impact of emerging digital technologies on in-store purchase, Catapult Action-Biased Marketing has conducted a comprehensive study of digital shopper marketing (DSM) in partnership with Forrester Research.


The marketing firm said the study is the first of its kind to focus on the role digital technologies play in shopping and purchase decisions, rather than on general consumer adoption of these technologies.


The online study of 1,100 US consumers sought to gauge shopper usage and familiarity with DSM, while uncovering related opportunities for marketers and retailers to reach and activate shoppers. The study aimed to identify shopper demographics, shopping habits and to explore how primary shoppers perceive and use various digital technologies in their shopping practices.


Digital interactions increasingly influential


Catapult defines DSM as the use of digital communications to engage shoppers along the path to purchase – from ‘at-home’ and ‘on-the-go’ to ‘in-store’ touchpoints to drive sales and build equity at attractive return on investment (ROI).


"Digital Shopper Marketing is the new frontier as shoppers quickly take to new digital technologies and become comfortable with using them along their path to purchase," explains Jason Katz, executive vice president of Catapult Marketing's emerging media discipline. "Today's on-the-go shoppers are empowered by the benefits these new technologies provide them, which opens up a whole new world of opportunities for shoppers, brands and retailers. It is precisely these opportunities that we hoped to more clearly identify in our landmark study."


The study found the most successful innovations i.e. the ones that are being used by shoppers and actually influencing purchase decisions, deliver one or more of the following three benefits:


a) Provide shopper value – offer the shopper relevant price-off coupons and promotions.


b) Facilitate decision-making – provide information of interest that helps the shopper make or validate a decision about what to buy and where to buy it, which comes in two forms: Basic information – e.g., product reviews, brand/retailer emails, as basic necessity; and contextual information – e.g., past purchases, personal information and even current shopper location. This found this type of interactive one-to-one information exchange was the one that drove the greatest impact.


c) Improve ease of shopping – Make the shopper experience faster, more efficient and effective across the whole purchase decision continuum, in-store and beyond.


Online research raises expectation


It also found DSM has made the greatest inroads with at-home technologies, with which shoppers are both familiar and comfortable. In fact over 60% of ‘Gen X’ and ‘Gen Y’ shoppers go online before they shop, many the same day of their trip. This gives marketers the opportunity to impact shopper decision-making before they reach the store.


And, while on-the-go DSM technologies using smartphones are not yet widely used, GPS location services, mobile coupons, shopping lists and iPhone apps are up-and-comers, scoring high on interest, helpfulness and impact on purchase.


It also emerged that consumers tend to visit retailer websites for best prices and product reviews, while brand sites attract more traffic for promotions and product use ideas.


Meanwhile, the highest adoption of in-store DSM technology was self-checkout which, although not influential on purchase decisions, was found to ease the shopping experience. However, time saving or value-producing technologies also showed promise. Interest was highest among consumers with handheld scanners, kiosks for swiping loyalty cards to receive personalised coupons, touchscreen signage, and on-pack/online and on-pack/text promotions.


"On-the-go DSM technologies may well be in their infancy, driven largely by still low concentrations of smartphone users," said Katz. "Still, we believe mobile DSM technology looms as the next killer app, as smartphone models proliferate and uptake grows. These applications allow marketers to serve up relevant information and offers to users in a wide range of formats, which is a win-win-win for shoppers, manufacturers and retailers alike."