Guy ChiswickGuy ChiswickDecember 18, 2017
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8min130

Today’s consumers are increasingly complex; motivated by a number of different and often competing drivers.

They move seamlessly between instore and online, and their purchasing decisions can often be unpredictable, making it difficult for retailers to fully understand the journey they take before making a purchase.

Understanding these factors is therefore a never-ending task for brands, and it’s crucial that they understand what motivates their shoppers to buy – and, crucially, keep buying.

Introducing the 5Ps

This is why we conducted global research with over 5,000 consumers across 13 countries to gain a better understanding into the factors that are most likely to influence purchasing decisions. From this, we identified five shopper profiles: Peer, Price, Practicality, Personalisation, and Perk Motivated Shoppers.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest group in our 5Ps of Shopper Motivation report was those motivated by price; 51 percent of people fell into this category globally, and accounted for 52 percent of UK respondents. But away from price, a small – but very important – group also emerged: Peer Motivated Shoppers.

Defined by their influence on where their friends and families shop, as well as what they read about products and brands on social media or review sites, peer-motivated shoppers like to take inspiration from others before making purchasing decisions.

From a global perspective, peer motivated shoppers are most likely to be found in the US and Turkey. So why are they important, and what can retailers do to harness their influence?

Nurturing Peer Motivated Shoppers

They matter because they’re among the most loyal of shoppers, being three times more likely to shop daily (16 percent), compared to, for example, six percent of Price Motivated Shoppers. This group represents just five percent of UK shoppers, but if retailers can win the heart of this category, they are likely to become the most ardent supporters and continue buying products again and again.

Back in the days before online shopping, our network of influence tended to be smaller, with opinions shared via word-of-mouth rather than listed on brands’ websites or mentioned in tweets. However, in a world where we’re now bombarded with marketing messages every day, it’s natural that we’re turning to our trusted peers for advice and recommendations.

The proliferation of review sites, and visibility of reviews on brands’ websites themselves, means we have quick and easy access to see how other shoppers have rated products.

Amazon, Boohoo, Topshop, and Boots – to name but a few – all have reviews integrated in their e-commerce sites, so shoppers can see at a glance whether products have a one-star or five-star rating and can make their choice based on this.

This is a trend with millennials in particular, who are more influenced by their peers than older consumers. Considering this group has been raised in tandem with the growth of social media, it’s understandable they’re more socially minded.

This is backed up by a study by Barclay Consulting Group, which found 68 percent of millennials won’t make a major decision until they have discussed it with a few people whom they trust, compared to around half of all non-millennials.

Similarly, 70 per cent of millennials are “more excited about a decision they’ve made when their friends agree with them, compared to 48 per cent of non-millennials”. This propensity to engage with their peers makes shopping a much more communal experience and brands that piggyback on to and encourage this will reap the rewards.

How can their needs be met?

Many brands, particularly those which are focused on millennials, are all too aware of the power of peer-motivated shoppers and are working hard to meet their needs. Here are some examples…

  • As usual, ASOS is a brand leading the way in understanding how consumers live their lives and chat with their friends, and is adapting its mobile platform to meet these needs. Earlier this year, the e-commerce giant launched a ‘screenshot and share’ function to motivate customers to share its products via social media, WhatsApp, or any platform they choose.
  • As a platform, Instagram is offering brands the opportunity to directly reach consumers and capitalise on their engagement through its Stories function.  250 million people around the world watch and create Instagram Stories every day, and this platform is becoming an increasingly powerful way for brands to stand out and inspire action. In August, the “swipe up” function was introduced, allowing people to access the products their favourite influencers and brands are endorsing. Fashion brands in particular have been quick to adopt this function, and although conversion numbers are limited, no doubt Instagram has more plans in the works for enabling brands to further commercialise this.
  • In September, fashion brand Pink Boutique launched a range of t-shirts with the slogan “U ok hun” printed across them, as the expression took off in popularity on social media memes. Although it’s unlikely people will still be wearing one of these tops in 10 years’ time, this is good example of how a brand has reacted quickly to a social media trend and brought a new product to market

Today’s consumers are increasingly complex and motivated by a number of different and often competing drivers.

Understanding these factors is a never-ending task for brands, and what motivates one shopper may be completely different for another. However, it’s clear that peer-motivated shoppers should be engaged with, nurtured, and incentivised as they may well become what every retailer is seeking: a loyal customer.


Guy ChiswickGuy ChiswickAugust 1, 2017
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12min351

The way we shop is changing at a rapid pace; with our expectations heightened and more places to spend than ever before. Bricks-and-mortar brands have launched online platforms, whilst ecommerce giants like Amazon and Missguided are recognising the value of the physical store. As online and offline worlds collide, it’s clear to see there’s merit in both experiences.

Customer expectations drive change, and one of the challenges retailers’ face is delivering a seamless experience across multiple channels. According to Forrester, the average number of touchpoints shoppers under the age of 50 have with a retailer and its brand — before they actually make a purchase — is about 3.5.

The pressure to perform is acute. Stuart McMillan, deputy head of e-commerce at Schuh, commented recently: “There is a fundamental change in the model of e-commerce. Consumers don’t see the difference between stores and websites – they just want the brand experience.” Customers don’t forget a bad experience easily; research by Salesforce found that 36% of consumers are put off by an inconsistent experience across mobile, online and in-store. What are the key areas brands need to focus on when it comes to the omni-channel customer experience?

Make the Most of Mobile

It’s undeniable that mobile shopping has taken off in recent years, and should be a key focus for retailers. According to research by eMarketer, the UK retail ecommerce market is set to exceed £81.55 billion in 2017, of which £35.31 billion will come from mobile commerce.  When you consider our Unfaithful Consumer research found 54.9% of people value convenience above all else when it comes to shopping, it’s understandable that today’s promiscuous consumers are embracing the ease m-commerce offers.

Despite the shift in traffic and adoption of mobile, retailers are struggling to convert. The industry average cart abandonment rate on mobile is 69%, as factors such as a poor user experience, slow load times, security concerns and the small screen size means people aren’t making it over the final hurdle.

Slow loading m-sites cost customers and ultimately revenue. Research by Aberdeen found that even a one second delay in load-time equals a 7% loss in conversion, and we know from the development of ShopAppi, our mobile shopper loyalty programme, that a lengthy sign-up or payment process can decrease conversion rates.

There are simple solutions to make it easier for customers, for example including ‘.com’ prompts when entering an email address, or a numeric keyboard prompt when filling in card numbers. These are simple quick wins which could be the difference between keeping or losing a customer. The next step for retailers will be developing custom-made keyboards which will further speed up the process for the customer.

Link Online Channels to the In-Store Experience

Online and offline channels shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. According to a study by Google, 72% of consumers visit a shop to check out a product, with plans to purchase online. So whilst online shopping has grown in popularity, there is still appeal in the tangible in-store experience and retailers need to understand how they can link them together as part of the overall customer journey.

The first step is to understand how people view both channels in insolation. Do consumer expectations vary in-store, versus online?

What people value, and expect, from e-commerce is speed, ease and convenience. Despite the surge in e-commerce, it’s important to know that customers still value the bricks and mortar experience. According to Adyen’s survey of 2,000 UK shoppers, 75% of consumers said it is important to see, sample, touch and try on items.

Driving footfall is essential to keep physical stores a viable and relevant part of the overall customer journey. With customers shopping online becoming commonplace, retailers with a bricks-and-mortar presence need to give them a reason to visit. Where the opportunity lies is the immersion of customers in the brand experience, with engaging displays and great service.

Energise the In-Store Experience

Retail isn’t just about the big brand chains and department stores. Tapping into millennial trends, pop-up brand Apatchy has installed a photo booth into its stalls in Cambridge and Birmingham.  The booth can send images direct to users’ social media channels and – if approved – to the brand’s, too. A physical strip is also printed out and gifted to the customer, and a copy is displayed on the shop wall. This is just one way that a brand can make shopping feel different and exciting for consumers – as well as a clever way to encourage social marketing through sharing.

In-store is where retailers can engage with consumers in a memorable experience that either leads directly to purchasing, or produces a cognitive bias for the brand, with customers choosing to buy goods online later. A report by Squire Paton Boggs found 43% of shoppers said that they are likely to spend more money in the future with a retailer who offers a meaningful shopping experience in-store.

A good in-store experience can start with excellent customer service. And the consequences of bad service shouldn’t be underestimated; our research found that 57% of UK consumers will choose another retailer if they experience rudeness from staff on the shop floor. One way to deliver a good meaningful experience is through using technology to enhance the customer experience. Retailers should look to Apple for inspiration, which is often applauded for its best-in-class employees who seamlessly use the brand’s devices and products as part of the customer service.

Best Practice in Omni-Channel

The first step towards doing multi-channel well is understanding what each channel should bring to the customer experience.  Online is where consumers go to research and browse at a time and place that suits them, so an optimised mobile site is essential if brands want to capitalise on this shift in consumer behaviour and traffic. On the high street, stores need to be attractive destinations for customers, with engaging displays, great service and experienceso be truly omni-channel, there needs to be a seamless link between these channels.

Click-and-collect is a prime example of how this can be achieved. It has expanded the role of physical stores; evolving them from places of discovery and purchasing, to fulfilment centres for online ordering. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge for retailers – while driving footfall is good for business, the investment needed to fulfil click-and-collect is yet another cost to the bottom line.

Amazon made a significant step in this area with its  acquisition of Whole Foods. The industry is waiting to see how the firepower behind Amazon’s e-commerce and fulfilment expertise will transform the organic food chain. However, there are already limitations in how far they can challenge traditional grocers, as neither organisation is currently equipped to deliver frozen goods.

Preparing for the Future

As consumer appetite for online shopping shows no sign of diminishing, retailers need to keep pace with their expectations.  It’s clear there is still room for both online and offline channels, but with competition ever-increasing, retailers need to do all they can to deliver goods and services in the way customers want them.

Interesting Links:


Guy ChiswickGuy ChiswickApril 26, 2017
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9min188

With figures from IMRG revealing UK online retail sales reached £133bn in 2016, an increase of 15.9%, year-on-year, it’s clear consumers have been quick to embrace the ease and efficiency offered by online stores. The high street used to be the main – or only – shopping destination. Now, we can shop from the comfort of our own homes, and can choose delivery options to fit around our lives. But it’s important to realise that physical shops can still be a valuable part of the customer experience.

The Power of Online

The web is not just where customers go to order products; it’s also a crucial channel which influences where customers first find new products, and where they choose to purchase. KPMG’s research found retail websites or online shops were the most common source of initial product awareness, (cited by nearly a third of consumers), and, crucially, ranked above physical shops, which came second with 22% of customers.  With this in mind, we’re seeing retailers investing in tech to find new ways to deliver a personalised customer experience online.

Retailers are also exploring how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can streamline, tailor and improve the customer experience online. Traditionally, A/B split testing has been used to measure, improve and refine the user experience.

Now, AI technology could replace this time-consuming process and deliver more sophisticated insight into how consumers like to engage with websites. Italian lingerie company Cosabella is already using AI to rapidly test alternative options for its website design.

It’s clear consumers are engaged with mobile as an e-commerce platform; according to IMRG, sales via mobile grew by 46% year-on-year in December 2016. But slow load times, poor website design and a clunky user experience is hampering the true potential of mobile for many retailers. Research by Ovum and payments provider Klana revealed 52% of retailers are still finding abandoned baskets a major issue as customers lose patience.  Retailers need to invest in mobile functionality to remain competitive and keep pace with customers’ expectations.

The Changing Role of the High Street

It hasn’t been an easy start to 2017 for bricks and mortar retailers in the UK. Faced with the challenge of increasing business rates, a rise in the national living wage, fluctuating levels of footfall and consumer confidence, it’s a challenging time to remain profitable.

This is why we’re seeing some of the UK’s most-loved retail brands looking for ways to revive the experience they offer shoppers in-store, whilst others are simply becoming irrelevant. John Lewis announced it’s planning to trial beauty salons, and under-pressure, Next has announced plans to rent out space in its Manchester Arndale centre to a range of concessionaires, including a florist, to create a department store experience.

In contrast to the traditional path of physical shops moving to online, we’re also seeing a trend of pureplays moving to bricks and mortar.  Lured by the footfall of town and city centres, it’s easy to see why retailers that were born online are eager to see how physical stores could become a part of their offering.

Retailers know that there is still appeal in the tangible in-store experience. The trend of ‘showrooming’ – where consumers visit shops for inspiration and research, with the actual purchase being made online – evolving in recent years.  According to a study by Google, 72% of consumers visited a shop a store to check out a product, with plans to purchase online.

Amazon, ever the trailblazer for change, announced at the end of 2016 it would be launching Amazon Go, a checkout-free store in Seattle, this year. Although the launch has just been delayed due to technical problems, this is a significant step forward for the way on-and-offline channels can be merged to deliver a new kind of customer experience.

What’s clear is that bricks and mortar retailers need to get customer service right. It can make the difference between keeping or losing a customer. Our Unfaithful Consumer research showed 53% of those surveyed would change retailer if they receive bad service. KPMG’s global research revealed over two-thirds of the consumers said they had used a smartphone for product research while in a physical shop. With tech-savvy customers wandering the floor, retailers need to ensure their staff can offer insight and assistance beyond what customers can easily discover themselves.

A Challenging Time for Retailers

Regardless of whether on or offline, it’s a challenging time for retailers to remain profitable. Recently we partnered with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to investigate how UK retailers are responding to the pressures they’re under, and what they are doing to beat rising costs and falling margins.

Our Beyond the Core research revealed many retailers are already looking beyond selling their traditional products to exploring secondary revenue options to boost profit margins.

Great progress and innovation is abundant in the world of retail, but the businesses that succeed will be the ones that integrate these into a seamless customer experience, whether online, offline – or both.

Interesting Links:




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