Shopper-first: A new roadmap to shopper-centricity

In an industry where change is the only constant, those who promise to help us glimpse the future of retail are in high demand. But between the robot-staffed, drone-delivering world of the high-tech optimists and the low-margin, stalled-growth scenarios of the gloom merchants, it's hard to know who to trust.

Do we pay heed to the retail experts poring over the latest ecommerce tech trends? Tune in to the opinions of today’s always-on shoppers to discover what's currently on their radar? Or dive deep into vast oceans of shopping behavioural data, actively tracking millions of consumers?

How about all three?

This summer saw pioneers SapientRazorfish produce a ground-breaking report on our new, consumer-pivoting world: "Shopper-First Retailing: What Consumers Are Telling Us About the Future of Shopping." 

We provided data-rich insights from our Salesforce Shopping Index, gathered from the most recent shopping activity of some 300 million shoppers worldwide.

SapientRazorfish brought to the table a global survey of consumer preferences and motivations, polling 6,000 shoppers in six key countries. They also garnered the perceptions of 27 retail experts on ecommerce's ongoing evolution.

Our holistic approach has helped clear the haze from a retail scene that’s been electrified by the digital transformation. Four key memes from our report help punch through the fog:


1. The storefront is evolving

The divide between physical and digital stores is no more. They overlap and inform each other.

Brick-and-mortar stores will remain a destination. Even among the digitally tuned in Gen Z, almost 60% prefer the sights, smells and smiles of the living, breathing store. But once in store, customers can't help but reach for their phones: half of all e-commerce activity tracks back to customers immersed in the real-world shopping environment.

In fact, 60% of customers admit tapping their hand-held while in store. They're comparing prices and researching products. And, ever more often, they're buying on mobile too.


2. Mobile is king

Wherever and however consumers shop, it is their mobiles that guide them. And, increasingly, mobiles also deliver products for them too.

Our report shows that more than half of all digital commerce traffic and nearly one-third of actual orders come from smartphones. You can help turn your customer's mobile touchpoints into points of sale by aiding the smartphone's transformation into a cash register: embrace payment technologies like Apple Pay and Android Pay.


3. Intelligence is becoming all-pervasive

Artificial intelligence (AI) has already made its mark on product pages, with average order values and visitor revenue seeing double-digit growth, thanks to growing personalisation.

But our report sees AI-fuelled personalisation spreading across the board. Site search, which drives 9% of visits and 23% of digital sales, is primed for personalised smarts. Customer service chat tools, frequently asked questions and status updates also look set to benefit from the rise of the bots, say our report's experts.


4. The funnel can be flattened

New opportunities for ramping up conversion throughput in the funnel are becoming apparent.

But you'll need to tune in the sensitivities of the digital funnel first. The shift to mobile means page load times, interactivity and ease of purchase are ever more critical. And social media's presence is a growing factor. Today, 47% of shoppers say they have used social media to seek out products and services over the last month.

If you can leverage all of these developments, steering yourself into orbit around the customer, you'll reap the benefits of being truly customer-centric. But how do you know if you're getting there? Are you a follower, an explorer or a trailblazer?

Our Shopper-first Assessment Tool is one place to turn. It will help you fix yourself firmly in the customer-centred firmament. Better yet, grab a copy of the report itself. As the global retail landscape continues to shift and morph, having a diversely informed roadmap is ever more essential.