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What Impact has Technology had on our Shopping Habits?

We’ve already seen many changes in the shopping industry as a result of technology, but what else can we expect? Research has shown that between the years 2015 and 2017, there was an 85% increase in searches for footwear reviews — showing that buyers want to learn more before they buy. Together with Frank Wright, a British footwear brand that offers high-quality chukka boots, the team at Mediaworks take a look at how shopping has changed over the years and what retailers are doing about it.

The decision-making process

According to Google, we are making more specific searches online to find what we want. Rising search terms between 2015 and 2017 included ‘kids light up shoes’ and ‘men’s Italian dress shoes’. This is possibly because we often know precisely what product we desire and are confident that our search will yield relevant results due to the vast amount of available information on the internet.

Further research has found that we’re less likely to window shop and more likely to go online to find out more about a potential purchase. Social media was the first choice when respondents were asked where they get online inspiration from for their purchases. This behaviour has paved the way for social media influencers and celebrity endorsements too. In fact, the search term ‘influencer marketing’ experienced a 325% increase in searches between 2016 and 2017 — demonstrating company and agency interest in the new technique.

Although the overall purchasing process is simpler, there are now more ways to interact with the service provider. This potential user-to-business engagement allows an individual to connect more with a brand, through social media contact and additional communication channels (such as live chat and 24/7 phone lines).

More impulsive purchases?

During the introduction of e-commerce, visits to physical stores experienced a decline. But now, weekly bricks-and-mortar shoppers are up from 40% in 2015 to 44% in 2018. This could be due to people using shopping as a social activity.

What does this mean for retailers? Retailers with physical stores have the chance to reduce their stock levels on-site and use the newfound space to create a more enjoyable, sensory experience for shoppers.

A lot of customers are shopping from a handheld device too. In fact, statistics show that mobile commerce more than doubled between 2013 and 2018, rising from 7% to 17%. It’s looking likely that mobile shopping sales will soon surpass PC-based buying, which is currently at 20%.

The rise in mobile purchases implies that less people are experiencing the product before they buy it. The delivery and returns process has been made so easy by many retailers in order to encourage customers to order their products first and then try them at home. Customers are getting used to the convenient delivery service too. In fact, 25% of customers said that they wouldn’t continue with their orders if one-day delivery wasn’t available.

Looking ahead

It’s clear to see that technological advancements have changed the way that we shop forever. We’ve seen the demise of some high street stores as they struggle to keep up with the requirements of consumers of the digital age. So, what does the future look like for the shopping industry?

Although we receive our order relatively quick now, the waiting time could reduce further. There is discussion from some online retailers of a 30-minute drone delivery — almost 40% of customers would consider this as a method too! We can also expect to see more engaging stores as companies try to encourage more store visits.

Influencer marketing is expected to grow further too. But, due to the rapid speed of technological advancements, it’s hard to predict exactly what’s around the corner.