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Study: Millennials Will Research In-Store, Buy Online 75% of the Time

ecommerce shopping

There’s a symbiotic relationship between online and offline. In the age of mobile, marketers have become clear on how digital media influence offline behaviors. On the flip side, and equally important, they are beginning to understand how offline behaviors impact online purchases.

Euclid recently released a report exploring the relationship between online and offline shopping, in anticipation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The consumer survey has a number of interesting findings — especially one that says Millennials (18-34) intend to browse in stores but buy online. This “showrooming” behavior is nothing new but the number who said they were planning to do this (or have done this) was significant.

The majority of Millennials surveyed said they had shopped or intended to shop offline but buy mostly online this holiday season. (The report presents the data as future intention and past behavior, so it’s a bit ambiguous. It’s also not clear whether the intended online buying was from the store’s site or a third party site.) It remains the case that 92% of retail spending happens in stores.

How often do you visit a store to see a product and then purchase it later online?

Euclid Holiday Shopping Report

Source: Euclid “Evolution of Retail” Report (9/17), n=1,500 US consumers

The study argues Cyber Monday will continue to eclipse Black Friday as the largest holiday shopping day. It also asserts that price is the single the greatest influencer of purchase behavior, with 86% saying price is the deciding factor in picking between two different retailers. Close behind that, 85% said the quality of the product was the strongest driver when deciding where to shop.

During holiday shopping, convenience becomes even more important as it determines which store a shopper will choose to visit. The study found that 86% will choose to visit a specific retailer because of its convenient location. Online shopping offers the ultimate convenience but many people, depending on the product, still want to see, touch and feel an item before buying it.

For physical retailers, winning the 2017 holiday season means capitalizing on the added value and convenience that brick-and-mortar locations can offer. It also means offering consistency across channels and enabling the customer to buy in stores or online. Retailers have been talking about being “channel agnostic” for years but most have yet to live up to that promise.

From the SMB perspective, co-op advertising offers local retailers an opportunity to drive online and offline traffic during the holiday season. With brands and manufacturers offering co-op funds for digital and traditional media, local retailers can begin to compete with national chains by offering and promoting holiday deals of their own. (LSA’s podcast interview with Netsertive’s Brendan Morrissey goes into more detail on co-op.)

In today’s marketplace, the distinctions between online and offline are becoming less significant to younger shoppers. Many are less interested in where they buy something now (online vs. offline) than whether they’re getting a good price and good service for a product they want. Stores offer a definite advantage (for returns, among other reasons) but retailers must coordinate their online and offline strategies to drive an improved customer experience — and sales — during the holiday season.

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