Consumers to Retail: Ads Are Losing – Personalized Digital Engagement is Winning!

Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 1.55.37 PMA new report from international consultancy firm Deloitte finds that, for every buck spent in retail stores, more than 50 cents is influenced by some kind of digital interaction, such as email advertising or blogging. That’s a huge increase from 2013, when the total was just 14 cents of every dollar.

The report, which Deloitte has titled “The New Digital Divide: The future of digital influence in retail,” is the company’s fourth annual study examining the digital demands of consumers. This year, the findings show that, more than ever before, consumers are using digital paths to learn more about the products they want to buy. At the same time, more consumers are using digital methods, such as online and mobile platforms, to make their purchases. As for retailers, Deloitte finds that many are struggling to have a significant influence on the digital journeys of consumers.

Specifically, Deloitte found that roughly two in three consumers preferred carrying out their own shopping journey, meaning they’re not interested in the help of retailers. That’s a huge change from 2014, when less than one in three consumers said they preferred a self-directed shopping process.

Another major change: it’s no longer just young people who do their shopping online. Deloitte’s study shows that nearly four in five non-millennials now use digital technology to research and make their purchases.

Retailers are also having a hard time reaching consumers through their marketing efforts. Deloitte’s study showed that less than one in three consumers admitted to making a purchase after being exposed to a company’s advertising. Two years ago the findings were very different, with seven in ten respondents saying marketing had played an important role in their shopping decision making.

Half of all shoppers are willing to share data with retailers in exchange for personalized service

So, what can retailers do to reach consumers more? Deloitte’s study suggests they need to be using digital channels to find out more about potential customers. Today, that information is more available than ever before, with almost half of all shoppers (and a majority of millennials) acknowledging that they’d be willing to share data with retailers in exchange for personalized service. This includes showing retailers their locations and personal preferences — like what kind of service they consider ideal and how they like to receive advertising information. Deloitte also found that more and more consumers are open to receiving emails from retailers and reading blogs about their products.

Deloitte’s conclusion: Retailers that identify and act on the digital demands of consumers will have an advantage over rivals who continue to bring a more traditional approach to reaching potential customers. Because consumers are less likely to look for help at brick-and-mortar retail locations, retailers need to reach potential customers where they now prefer to do (or at least research) their shopping: online.

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About the Author: Wayde Robson