We've all heard the theories that people who do research online no longer care about the in-store experience … or don't even go to physical stores any more. Or that shoppers who use a smartphone in a store are looking to buy elsewhere.
Google decided to find out how much of this is true. We've just run a research study with Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands with the goal of discovering how smartphones and online information have changed the in-store experience.
The results, as they say, may surprise you. The full details are available at Think With Google. But here's a sneak peek at what we learned.
First, the study confirmed two things most of us have suspected:
- Yes, today's consumers are better-informed than ever before.
- They crave information throughout the shopping process, and often use smartphones to get it.
But we also learned that three pieces of "common wisdom" were really more like myths:
Myth #1: Search results only send consumers to e-commerce sites.
The reality: The things people find in search results actually can send them to local stores. In fact, 3 in 4 people who said they found local information in search results helpful also said what they learned made them more likely to visit a store.
Myth #2: Once an in-store shopper starts looking at her smartphone, the store has lost her attention and her sale.
The reality: In-store smartphone moments are actually a good opportunity for brick-and-mortar stores to connect with shoppers and to help them make a decision. 46% of those shoppers say they look at the retailer's own site or app for information. Only 30% look up details from a different retailer’s web site or app.
Myth #3: With so much information available online, shoppers only go to stores to transact.
The reality: Shoppers actually want more, not less, out of their in-store experience. They want informed, customized experiences. 69% of shoppers said they gathered information from physical stores at some point in their shopping cycle. The catch is that 2 out of 3 shoppers said they didn't find all the info they wanted.
What does it all mean? Simply this: smartphones are a friend, not an enemy, to in-store shopping.
There are new opportunities for brands and stores to engage with customers in creative ways before, during, and after the customer’s shopping journey — one that may begin online and end up in-store. Search results, mobile ads, and mobile sites and apps can be magnets that draw consumers into stores and engage them while they're there. Smartphones and online information can also be a powerful way to create customized experiences for the consumer.
We discovered plenty of surprising insights in our study. See all the details at Think With Google » Plus, check out videos of Macy's, REI, and Sephora marketing execs sharing their approach for linking digital to store here.