How to engage the 2018 consumer

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
Gina Acosta profile picture
Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) is now considered a mainstream offering, with 67% of survey participants having used it in the past six months.

Retailers can differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace by aiming to provide a personalized online and in-store experience.

According to Kibo's 2018 Consumer Trends Report, consumers still value price but are increasingly seeking out the differentiated shopping experience -- one that provides a rich, informative, and personalized online and in-store experience.

The rise of shopping experiences
About 61% of survey participants named price as the top factor influencing purchase decisions, however that percentage is down by more than 12.8% year over year. By contrast, the importance of the shopping experience doubled, and the percentage of participants naming the variety and speed of fulfillment options as deciding factors grew by 1.3x and 3x, respectively.

Branded manufacturers should showcase deep online content
More than half of survey respondents say they expect extensive content on branded manufacturer websites, suggesting that product images, videos, reviews, detailed specifications, comparison guides, and other consideration tools are all apt investments. Inventory access and availability are crucial, with more than half of survey participants said they expect a manufacturer’s site to have items in-stock, while 45% believe they’ll find a greater variety of products available, and 40% believe manufacturers will have more items than retailers.

Retailers should view stores as valuable assets - not relics
Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) is now considered a mainstream offering, with 67% of survey participants having used it in the past six months. Furthermore, shoppers widely recognize that BOPIS offers not only free order fulfillment, but also a degree of flexibility and control not available via home delivery.

The ability to inspect items in the store before taking them home was the BOPIS benefit whose importance grew the most year over year -- suggesting that stores’ tactile experiences are important brand assets. Substantiating this finding is shoppers’ increasing willingness to engage store associates for assistance finding items; 57% of survey respondents said they’ve done so, an 18.75% increase from 2017.

More than two-thirds of respondents said they expected those associates to have access to their order histories, suggesting expectations are high for knowledgeable interactions that draw on shoppers’ past interactions across touchpoints.

“As merchants struggle to thrive in the era of Amazon and increasingly look for ways to engage consumers, the key is to understand what factors influence a consumer’s buying behavior,” says Tushar Patel, CMO, Kibo. “These behaviors are ever-changing and the goal of Kibo’s annual report is to better gauge where those changes are so retailers and manufacturers can evolve their shopping experience to meet and exceed customer expectations. This year it is increasingly clear that while having fair and consistent pricing on all channels is extremely important, merchants have an incredible opportunity to engage shoppers with seamless experiences that include, but are not limited to, flexible fulfillment options like buy online, pickup in store. Shopping has changed and brands must adapt today to thrive tomorrow.”

The Kibo Consumer Trends Report includes survey feedback from 3,000 U.S. consumers, with 50% of the respondents female and 50% of the respondents male.