Omnichannel 2.0: Shopping journey keeps adding touchpoints

The path from research to purchase to delivery is becoming more complex, according to a new ShipStation study, which finds shoppers continue to blend their digital and physical worlds every step along the way.

“For retailers, the pressure to be everywhere their customers are has never been greater,” said Al Ko, CEO of Auctane, the parent company of ShipStation, which conducted its survey in conjunction with Retail Economics. “Consumers are more selective about the brands they shop with and will settle for nothing less than a unified experience across websites, physical storefronts, marketplace channels and social media.”

The research found that how consumers discover products and how they ultimately purchase them may differ, especially depending upon the category. Electronics shoppers are most likely to browse online and also purchase through that channel, but that’s not the case for furniture and home goods buyers.

While 61% of consumers looking to buy furniture and home-related products began with online research, ultimately just 44% purchased online. The predominant channel for the purchase (56%) was in person.

The preferred channel for doing research was search engines, such as Google, across both digital adopters (those 45 and older) and digital natives (those younger than 45), although both groups were also nearly equal users of online marketplaces such as Amazon (45% and 41%, respectively) and brand websites (37% and 35%).

Where their paths split, however, was on the use of social media. Just 10% of older consumers said they used social media for product discovery, while 37% of digital natives did so. The younger-than-45 crowd also used chatbots or AI more often (7% vs. 1%), indicating a need for retailers to explore social media and AI as a means to get consumers’ attention going forward.

The study also examined consumer behaviors around delivery and returns.

The research was based on surveys of more than 8,000 nationally representative consumers taken in November 2023 as well as a survey of 800 Auctane customers from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Canada and Australia.

See also:

  • Survey says! These 13 home furnishings brands garner the most consumer trust
  • Life stage plays a role in how ‘big’ consumers buy

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