Customers are always online and always shopping in the background. Are you delighting them? Source: Shutterstock

Customers are always online and always shopping in the background. Are you delighting them? Source: Shutterstock

New retail study finds consumers regularly ‘shop in the background’

TECHNOLOGY has made shopping simpler in recent times, but retailers, brands, and e-commerce platforms are all struggling to keep up with consumer demands in the face of paper-thin margins.

According to a new study by the National Retail Federation (NRF) involving respondents in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other countries around the globe, consumers will continue to demand more convenient shopping experiences.

What’s key to note, however, is that the average consumer today is always online and constantly shopping in the background — instead of heading to an e-commerce platform or retail store with a shopping list put together over time.

Seventy-one percent of respondents told the NRF that they shop in micro-moments (shopping while performing another task, or shopping in the background), and 35 percent of those shoppers said they engage in such behavior at least once a week.

As a result, there’s an increasing need for consumers to enable any-time shopping experiences.

Another important thing to keep in mind when planning to delight customers who are always online is that there’s a strong demand, or at least preference, for flexibility in terms of logistics.

Customers who shop online might not always want to wait for their products to be delivered to them a week later, they might want express shipping, be able to collect the items in-store, or even at a nearby facility — that’s the convenience customers are seeking and those who can provide it can gain a strong competitive advantage for sure.

Obviously, this means that e-commerce players, retailers, and brands need a strong digital fabric that not only makes it feasible to cater to the customer who is always online, but also makes it possible to provide the flexibility that customers seek.

Here are some tips from experts for companies looking to delight customers with an exciting online shopping experience:

# 1 | Explore new and exciting technology solutions

Customers are excited and keen to try new and exciting technology solutions that can make life simpler for them in the retail or online shopping environment.

The NRF study, for example, found that awareness of new shopping technologies is generally above 90 percent across the board; as a result, consumers are keen on experimenting with the latest tools.

Organizations that are able to offer these new-age solutions to customers are therefore going to delight customers by saving them time, providing them with more options, and giving them an ultimately delightful experience overall.

# 2 | Embrace platforms and solutions that enable ‘omnipresence’

Customers are always online and they’re happy to make a purchase should the product or service resonate with them.

To cater to these customers, organizations need to leverage platforms and solutions that enable omnipresence and engage with customers at every touchpoint they choose.

For those selling after-market auto spares, for example, staying away from Instagram or neglecting to use email marketing is therefore not a good idea. Businesses need to move out of their comfort zone to truly engage with customers at the deepest level.

# 3 | Expand your logistical horizons

Customers today have a different buying behavior than they had a couple of years ago. As a result, they might walk into a retail store to buy just one item instead of preparing a shopping list and making purchases all at once.

However, what customers (who are always online) want are convenient logistics options for their purchases.

Someone buying a book might want it shipped overnight because it is meant to be a present for a colleague’s birthday. Organizations that can provide that kind of flexibility by leveraging new and exciting logistics solutions will definitely win new business.