Digital influence in retail – the role of product categories
In my last article, I spoke about the very interesting study of Deloitte Digital, “Navigating the new digital divide,” which studies the influence of digital on purchases in stores.
Today I would like to come back in more detail on some key findings from this study: the fact that the influence of digital varies according to the product categories and the moments of interaction, but also the importance of social media.
Some real disparities across product categories
From one product category to another, consumers integrate digital within their buying journey in a different way. We can note in particular that 62% of consumers are influenced by digital channels when purchasing electronic products, while digital influence only 31% of sales when buying food.
Similarly, the critical moments of interaction in the customer experience can vary significantly depending on product categories. Thus, this critical time is at the beginning of the buying journey for apparel buyers when they are looking for inspiration, while for baby and toddlers consumers, the most important interaction times are in the middle of the shopping journey (during the product research time, and when they finally validate their choice), or at the end, during the purchase itself, for food shopping.
More than ever, it is then essential to identify those moments in order for a brand to position itself with suitable responses.
Social media is essential
Again, depending on the different product categories, social has to be seen by retailers as a way to understand their consumers and guide them through their purchases: 56% of baby / toddler products buyers go on social networks at a time of their buying journey, against 40% for furniture buyers, or 32% for those who want to buy a car.
Stepping aside social media simply because their direct ROI would be low (or difficult to calculate) is undeniably a serious mistake. Just like Roland Garros or Wimbledon, it is important to remember that a game is not won at match point, but that everything is decided during training for weeks before match point: each element before purchase is important and victory cannot be attributed solely to the last point.
The importance to identify the ideal interaction time
In conclusion, we see that the notion of isolated digital strategy is completely obsolete. On the contrary, it is necessary to look at the business and overall marketing strategy in a global way, in which digital channels (website, mobile, application …) have their role to play in the same way than a paper catalog or an ad.
Let’s keep in mind that the effectiveness of each of these channels depends on the time of interaction with the consumer: the brand must be able to adapt its message to the mood of its customers, while realising that all interactions aren’t good purchase times.
Therefore, this means that it is essential to be able to make coincide monitoring and listening of what is said and done on social networks (with a tool like Adobe Social, for example…), with purchases made on the company website.
In doing so, we will come to know the most critical moments to interact with the audience and generate a mutual commitment: succeed in making a consumer stick to a brand and as a brand, push content, services and offers towards its audience, and ensure that they are always more adapted and personalised.
What about you, what do you think of these disparities in terms of product categories and of the importance of identifying the ideal moments of interaction? Do not hesitate to discuss and share your views in the comments!