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Study: Consumers prefer different channels for browsing, purchasing


Digital retailing is growing in popularity, but the brick-and-mortar channel remains dominant for at least one crucial consumer activity.

According to research firm Toluna, an equal percentage of consumers browse before purchasing online or via mobile (76%) as browse in-store (also 76%). However, when it comes time to make a purchase, 82% will do so in-store while only 65% purchase items online or via mobile.

When considering a purchase, consumers also use traditional means of obtaining advice. A leading 67% use friends and family as a source of product recommendations, compared to only 29% who use social media.

Connected retail (using devices such as smartphones for a more personalized in-store experience) still has a way to go before it is widely accepted by consumers. Fifty-four percent of consumers have never used connected retail.

While 68% of consumers are concerned about the privacy implications of retailers sending personalized offers on connected devices, 46% would still be open to receiving them in-store. And 30% of respondents would be willing to have their location tracked on their mobile devices, in exchange for an offer or in-store discount.

Among consumers who have participated in connected retail, the most common features used are in-store digital offers (29%) and click-and-collect (18%). Overall, with regard to online/mobile shopping experience, respondents want improvements in more detailed product descriptions (26%) and shorter delivery time (25%). These features are more popular than flashy new apps and features (19%).

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