Shopping habits in Asia have changed over the last decade, with many consumers’ shopping journeys likely to incorporate multiple channels such as mobile, online or stores. But what are the drivers behind this cross-channel behaviour and how can store-based retailers ensure that they do not lose out to their e-tail competitors?
Tofugear has conducted a comprehensive survey among 6,000 shoppers across 12 markets in Asia to gain insight into the shopping habits of today’s connected consumers. The study confirms that there are a wide range of reasons why shoppers switch from the online channel to stores or vice versa.
Above all, shoppers choose to finalise a purchase in stores because they want to see and touch products in real life, with 70% saying that this was their main motivation to switch channels. Interestingly, this factor was most important for countries with a less developed ecommerce market such as the Philippines (78%), Thailand (75%) and Vietnam (73%). This suggests that consumers in these markets have less trust in making purchases without seeing the product first.
Convenience is also of importance and two-thirds of shoppers said they turned to stores because it meant that they could get their hands on a product immediately. However, this is an advantage that is likely to diminish for physical retailers as quicker fulfilment options become more widespread in the region over the coming years.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, price is a major reason why consumers engage in ‘showrooming’ and abandon store purchases in favour of ecommerce. Four in five consumers in Asia admit that they will switch to online because of better pricing.
Interestingly, the next major reason to abandon a store purchase is if a desired product is out of stock. This is actually an area where physical retailers can help themselves through their omnichannel systems, so that a customer is either directed to another store that does have stock, or to a retailer’s own website to arrange delivery to home. Better yet would be to give customers access to real-time inventory data, either through in-store screens or online through the website or app.
With price being such an important driver for switching to the online channel, it seems obvious that store-based retailers should focus on the inherent advantages of the store such as human interaction and the ability to make it more experiential.
While the survey shows that only half of all consumers in Asia switch to stores because they value the in-store experience, experience-led stores are generally more catered towards shoppers that are in the discovery phase of their purchase, rather than those that have already done research online. Additionally, it can be argued that many retailers in Asia are not yet delivering on the in-store experience, hence this is not something that shoppers are not actively looking out for.
To gain full insight into the findings of the survey, the Digital Consumer in Asia 2018 report is available to download for free by clicking here.
As Head of Research at Tofugear, Philip provides insight on how retailers are adapting their digital strategies to target the connected consumer. Prior to relocating to Hong Kong, he led Retail Week’s research team in London, researching the tech and ecommerce strategies of the UK’s leading retailers.