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Capgemini: Social media losing steam in retail experience


New York -- Consumers consider social media a less important part of their customer journey – from awareness to post-sale activity – compared to two years ago, according to a survey by Capgemini, a leading provider of consulting, technology and outsourcing services.

According to Capgemini’s “Digital Shopper Relevancy Report,” less importance is being placed on following retailers on social media (such as Twitter and Facebook), finding out about new products through blogs, and participating in online retail customer communities. The responses reveal that social media is less important to the shopper journey compared with conventional retail store experiences, Web, smartphone, email or the use of technologies in-store.

“Despite the surge in Facebook’s ad revenues and marketing innovations like Twitter’s new ‘Buy’ button, there is definitely a question mark over where and how ‘social’ fits into the shopper journey,” said Kees Jacobs, global digital proposition lead, Capgemini Digital Customer Experience. “Social media is most relevant in the ‘awareness’ and ‘choice’ phases of shopping journeys (which is especially the case in fashion) but much less in ‘transaction, delivery and post-sales.’ Our report suggests that retailers still have work to do at every stage of the purchasing journey in order to make social media play a useful, valuable role in buying a product or service.”

The report highlights that the Internet is now globally the preferred channel to inform retail decisions (over all other channels, including stores), with 75% of consumers saying it was important or very important to shopping research.

In other key findings:

• 72% of shoppers see the store as important or very important when it comes to carrying out retail transactions, compared to 67% for the Internet. Only 14% of shoppers strongly indicate that physical stores have become less important for them. However, in the future, 51% of shoppers say they will spend more money online than in-store.

• In-store digital interactions (e.g., via kiosks) are popular among shoppers, suggesting that the introduction of more technology into retail stores would be a welcome shift for the consumer.

• Shoppers expect cheaper deals online: 72% of shoppers agree that they expect online prices to be lower than in-store.

* Fashion retailers lead the pack when it comes to engaging shoppers digitally: The fashion industry registered a 9% growth in online purchasing preferences amongst consumers, indicating that fashion retailers have made the most significant progress when it comes to digital engagement with their customers.

• Consumers turned off by personalized offers and recommendations over distrust of personal data usage: In the U.S., only 22% of shoppers rated receiving personalized offers and recommendations as extremely important. Privacy concerns may be a key reason for this as many consumers (over a third globally) feel they are currently not provided with clear enough information from retailers on how their personal data will be used.

• In terms of future innovation, shoppers agree that QR codes (45%), Internet of Things e.g., intelligently connecting devices such as ‘smart’ fridges (44%) and wearable devices such as Google Glass or Apple Watch (42%) will grow in importance in the shopping journey.

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