Digital influence in retail – the future of digital is physical
Today, I would like to speak about “Navigating the new digital divide”, a very interesting study which has just been published by Deloitte Digital, and analyzes the purchasing habits of thousands of consumers, in order to observe the influence of digital on purchases in stores.
First, we discover in this study that 6.5% of sales are now digital… which means that the vast majority (93.5%) of global trade remains offline (over $4 trillion).
We also learn that the power of digital channels keep on increasing: in fact, almost 49% of in-store purchases are influenced by digital today, a figure expected to rise to 64% by the end of 2015. Finally, the study also reveals that, at the same time, during the last 5 years, the market share of the top 25 US retailers fell by 2%, which equates to $64 billion that have benefited new entrants.
The digital is essential to trade in stores
This study highlights two key points, illustrating perfectly the fact that we have now moved from digital marketing to digital in service of marketing:
- On one hand, when a person enters a store, it is to buy. And in this approach, the digital is a tool, not a competitor. The real challenge for retailers is then to make digital a more and more efficient conversion tool.
- On the other hand, retail in stores has digital in its DNA, whether it likes it or not. And that is simply because consumers have become digital. Therefore, it is no longer possible to wonder: digital must be controlled and operated not as a channel, but as an offline sales maximization lever.
How to adapt to this evolution?
First, it is essential to build a comprehensive view of the consumer’s journey, a real 360 vision, in which trade in stores and e‑commerce would be reconciled. Beyond measuring each channel’s performance, it is vital to identify the critical interaction moments in the buyer’s journey and to understand the mindset of the consumers, in order to detect the blockages in these moments, and suppress them.
It is then this logic of integrated journey which is fundamental. For that, it is important to ensure that we speak the language of the consumer, but also that digital provides all the information needed to buy in stores, and provides all recommendations and advices necessary for purchase.
Secondly, it is also essential to have the tools and technologies that permit, in real time, to adapt the message and the interaction to the moment and the context. Indeed, any interaction between a brand and a customer does not necessarily happen at a time of availability, and this must be integrated into a company sales approach.
Nevertheless, this study shows that traditional retail has very bright future ahead, as long retailers are focusing on what really matters: to understand their customers. We can also note that the influence of digital varies depending on product categories, and that social media are a must: I would address these points in more detail in my next article.
In the meantime, do not hesitate to continue the discussion and share your views on this study in the comments section!