Website research using a PC is the number one source for gathering relevant information prior to making a purchase, with 24% of shoppers searching the web, followed by 20% reviewing a manufacturer’s website, the top two choices, according to a report released Monday [download form] from RIS News and Cognizant, “2011 Shopper Experience Study, Taking the Store to the Shopper.”
Despite the buzz about such fast-growing channels as smartphones and social networks, only 6% and 5% of respondents, respectively, are turning to those channels. This is a strong indication that shoppers still value many aspects of the ‘traditional’ in-store experience, and new technologies are additions, not replacements, to that experience.
Solid Interest in Mobile Options
That said, mobile platforms continue to give shoppers more choices for where, when, and how to shop, and with the growth of social media, more ways to compare products, prices and services. According to the survey, several of these mobile options indicate solid levels of interest, but they significantly trail the top three stored-based choices. Dynamic displays that provide product information after a shopper scans a barcode interested 33% of respondents, and 24% indicating a preference for scanning a product with a personal mobile device. These options may grow over time and may be better suited to some retail verticals than others.
Newspapers Top Source for Grocery Shoppers
Overall the Internet is the source most shoppers access for product information, but this is not true for all retail verticals. Looked at from this perspective, newspaper ads are still the top choice for grocery shoppers (chosen by 40%) and relatively strong for home goods shoppers (16%) and apparel shoppers (11%).
The Internet is the top choice for home goods (28%) and apparel shoppers (26%), but much lower for grocery shoppers (12%). Word of mouth is strong for all three verticals — 16% for home goods, 21% for grocery and 19% for apparel shoppers.
Television and informed store associates come next in the ranking, while radio, smartphones and magazine ads lag far behind. Catalogs show some strength with home goods (10%) and especially apparel shoppers (18%), but have little appeal for grocery shoppers (2%).
2,427 shoppers in the U.S. and Canada were surveyed in late April 2011, for the RIS News/Cognizant second annual shopper preferences study.