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Websites and apps are more influential than word of mouth

UK shoppers are increasingly first learning about new products through retail websites and apps, rather than through friends and family.

Retail websites and apps are driving both consumer awareness and sales for retailers across all sectors in the UK, according to Criteo’s “The Shopper Story 2017” report.

On average 80% of shoppers first learn about new products through retail websites and apps, as opposed to just 43% who learn through friends and family. These digital touchpoints also proved the most effective means for shoppers to learn more about products, and were the most common final influencers on product purchasing.

Key opportunity

This trend is set to continue, with 50% of respondents stating that retailer websites and apps are increasing in influence, compared to 38% for word of mouth, demonstrating that these platforms represent a key opportunity for retailers to maximise conversions, even more than search engines.

With 83% of UK consumers now identifying as omnichannel shoppers, the highest of any country besides the US, the increased influence of digital platforms should come as no surprise to retailers, who must continue to adapt their approach to accommodate increased consumer demand for multichannel experiences such as click and collect and webrooming.

“Our Shopper Story study points to a clear shift in consumer behaviour as websites and apps become increasingly essential recommendation engines,” said Paul Dahill, head of brand and agency, Criteo Sponsored Products.

“The omnishoppers’ path to purchase further reinforces the need for brands and retailers invest in digital across their operations to ensure that they are capturing consumers where decisions are actually made. While word of mouth will continue to play an important role, the omnishopper clearly sees apps and websites as the first port of discovery, exceeding even traditional search engines.”

Other key insights from “The Shopper Story 2017” include:

  • On average, UK omnishoppers spend 13% more online and 31% offline, demonstrating the value retailers stand to gain from encouraging omnishopping.
  • Click and collect is the most frequently done form of UK omnishopping, with 83% of omnishoppers saying they do it at least “on occasion”, placing it ahead of all other types of omnichannel shopping.
  • Mobile is important even to the in-store experience, with 57% of consumers using their phone while in-store to research products.
  • 80% of shoppers with a high purchase intent start their search on retail sites when looking for a product, not a traditional search engine.
  • Impulse purchases are almost as prevalent online as offline, especially in the apparel and consumer electronics sectors which actually overtake offline purchases.

The Shopper Story 2017 study was overseen by an independent researcher and conducted using Research Now’s global panel of 10,000 shoppers aged 16-65 within the UK, US, Japan, Germany, France, and Brazil. All participants were multi-channel shoppers who go online daily and own a smartphone. data.

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