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    Consumers Increasingly Embrace Tech on Path to Purchase

    Blackhawk Engagement shopper survey illustrates how

    By Meg Major, Stagnito Business Information

    Customers are on the move and developing more beneficial shopping patterns by harnessing connected technologies to simplify and optimize the path to purchase, according to new shopper research from Blackhawk Engagement Solutions.

    Among the key findings of the national shopper research study – which surveyed more than 2,500 respondents to uncover the ways they pre-shop, discover and filter options, as well as explore the devices and influences used along the multiple paths to purchase – the smartphone was found to be the most prevalent digital device, with 71 percent of shoppers using one daily (followed by laptop, 66 percent; desktop computer, 50 percent; and tablet, 43 percent).

    Additionally, TV watching and Internet shopping are closely linked. Fifty-eight percent of consumers shop at home while watching TV, and 47 percent of consumers learn about products, special sales and shopping news on TV.

    Moreover, shopping at work is also significant, according to the Blackhawk Engagement study, which found 37 percent of consumers admit to shopping while at work. Overall, 4–9 p.m. is the peak time for online shopping.

    “Gone are the days of retailers only worrying about keeping up with their competitors," said Rodney Mason, GVP of marketing at Lewisville, Texas-based Blackhawk Engagement Solutions. “Today, the key to winning at retail is keeping up with your customers. By charting where shoppers are landing as they explore new shopping territories," Mason continued, "retail marketers can position their businesses in front of the competition and closer to targeted and underserved customers.”

    Other key findings from the shopper survey include:

    Mobile changes how customers shop online and in-store

    Showrooming is now an ingrained behavior, with 19 percent of shoppers reporting that they purchase competitors’ products on their smartphones while standing in store. The first places shoppers go to compare prices on their phones are Amazon (38 percent), Google (32 percent) and retail websites (17 percent). Forty percent of shoppers use phone cameras to demo, compare and share products they find in store.

    Consumers want proximity-based offers

    Sixty-three percent of shoppers would consider allowing retailers to send offers to their smartphones based on where they are in-store; 59 percent would consider allowing retailers to know who they are and where they are in-store in exchange for special values and savings.

    Social media is underutilized in retail

    Marketers and retailers can and should leverage social media to drive promotions, especially since access to special deals is the primary reason shoppers follow brands on social media. Forty-two percent of consumers have used special promotions they found on social media and 89 percent of shoppers that follow brands want special offers from those brands.

    Email dominates in digital promo delivery, but social is making strides

    When it comes to taking advantage of promotional offers, the digital delivery method most used is email (73 percent), followed by social media (42 percent), text (37 percent) and shopping apps (36 percent). However, connecting seamlessly across in-store and online is still imperfect. Thirty-seven percent of shoppers have experienced in-store redemption problems with text promotions and 35 percent have experienced problems with email promotions.

    By Meg Major, Stagnito Business Information
    • About Meg Major Supermarket industry expert Meg Major brings a wealth of experience to her role as Chief Content Editor of Progressive Grocer, for which she oversees a variety of the brand’s signature research and in-depth analysis. Previously PG’s editor-in-chief and fresh food section editor earlier in her career, Major’s extensive knowledge of the national supermarket scene and its key players – including publicly traded chains, privately held regional retailers and local independent grocers – spans a wide range of topics, including retail strategy, operations, store design, merchandising and marketing, and consumer trends. A finalist in 2013’s 59th Annual Jesse H. Neal Awards competition in the Best Commentary category for her Last Word editorial columns, Major is also integrally involved in the retail food industry’s premier women’s leadership recognition platform, Top Women in Grocery.

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