New report indicates omnichannel strategies should be top-drawer choices.
With its acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon recognized the growing importance of omnichannel – combined in-store and online – shopping for even everyday purchases.
GfK’s latest FutureBuy report provides dramatic evidence of this trend, with US shoppers embracing omnichannel strategies for buying essential consumables.
In the annual study, which has been tracking emerging shopping trends for seven years, reports of omnichannel shopping for key household products have jumped significantly in just one year. Areas of strong growth include:
- Beauty and personal care: 40% said they used both in-store and online resources when shopping (versus 32% in 2016).
- Packaged food and beverages: 23% (up from 14%).
- OTC healthcare: 27% (up from 21%).
- Household washing and cleaning products: 25% (up from 15%).
In another testament to the continuing importance of brick-and-mortar outlets, shoppers are almost twice as likely (38% versus 22%) to report that they researched a product online and then bought it in a store (“webrooming”), as opposed to researching in store and then buying online (“showrooming”).
Among those who chose to purchase a product in store, nearly half (47%) cite the ability to see the item before buying it as a key reason. Getting the product sooner is also mentioned frequently (43%), with the ability to buy something as part of routine shopping coming in third (35%).
For shoppers who bought a product online, saving money is by far the most common reason, mentioned by more than half (54%) of online purchasers. By contrast, among those who bought in a store, saving money is only fifth among most-cited reasons, mentioned by just 29%.
In the new report, four in ten (39%) consumers now agree with the statement, “My mobile device is quickly becoming my most important shopping tool,” compared to 28% in 2016. Also, one-third (34%) said social networks are now “as important as my other information sources” for making purchase decisions – a jump of eight percentage points (from 26%) since 2016.
“Across all product categories, Asia Pacific shoppers tend to lead in embracing omnichannel strategies – but the US is catching up,” said Joe Beier, EVP of GfK’s Shopper and Retail Strategy team. “US shoppers now use digital devices for obtaining even everyday needs – but they still rely on stores to be there for browsing and purchases alike. The goal for marketers and retailers should be to give shoppers the options they need for increasingly busy schedules – be everywhere your customers are, giving them the freedom to shop when and where they like, and they will embrace your brand.”