Online research-offline shoppers
According to the latest research by Accenture on the online retail buyer behaviour:
– 68% buyers like to compare prices online, before buying in an offline store
– 58% customers prefer to locate items /stores online before purchasing offline
– 67% people prefer to research online before buying from physical stores
It has been found that there are many products that people prefer to purchase offline as they want to physically test it and be assured of its features / quality.
At times people have their favourite (offline) stores where they like to make most of their purchases. Other compelling reasons that drive people to prefer an offline purchase are their fear of online fraud (misuse of their funds or personal information) and reluctance to pay shipping charges. These factors have resulted in an increasing number of shoppers who are addicted to the convenience of searching the web for their product-price research prior to their offline purchases.
People often like to compare different offers across different stores and product categories to help them save time in their offline store purchases. Many customers simply arm themselves with relevant research and quickly complete their offline purchase at the most convenient store by ordering the ‘pre-researched/selected’ offer. Successful offline stores are today leveraging this ‘force-multiplier’ aspect of their web presence. Offline retail stores need to add intuitive buttons on their website that help to effectively convert this category of ‘online-research-offline-buyers’, which is called cross sales channel conversion.
Boosting ‘online-research-offline-purchase’ customer conversions
Successful retailers are consistently boosting conversion rates across different customer categories: online shoppers, offline buyers and even the online-research-offline purchase customers. Catering to the needs of different buyer categories boosts customer loyalty (as customers can easily switch roles according to their convenience) and also allows retailers to enhance their competitive edge by increasing successful conversions with minimal investment. Here are some proven website features that you could add to your online store to consistently ‘delight’ this ‘online-research-offline-purchase’ category of customers:
- Create a conveniently located ‘research-button’ close to the usual ‘add-to-cart’ shopping icon. This clickable ‘research-button’ could give the online web visitor details of the nearest stores where the product is available. This ‘research-button’ could also lead him to relevant product reviews and price comparisons. Giving the online buyer the ability to choose his preferred research activity with differently coloured icons (from the add-to-cart-icon) could greatly help.
- Building Geo-IP sensitivity could add to the convenience of your online presence. As different stores have different promotional offers, it helps to display prominently (at the top) those products/offers that are available at (offline) stores nearest to the IP address of the online visitor.
- Offering multi-channel support to these online visitors is a good idea. Allow web-visitors to make use of live chat, toll free telephone or even a ‘quick-response’ e-mail facility to book orders/check availability for collecting the purchase offline; to save on shipping charges or to facilitate personal checking of the quality of the chosen/ordered products.
- Building a ‘new-information-opt-in-facility’ is a smart tactic to boost customer loyalty. This allows your regular ‘online-research-offline-purchase’ customers to be informed whenever relevant new offers become available: they are either e-mailed instantly or on a ‘pre-specified/selected’ time frequency (daily/weekly/fortnightly).