Australians are increasingly likely to set foot inside a business for the first time if they are impressed by its digital offering, a new study has suggested, with on-site Wi-Fi the most sought-after service when they walk through the door.
Some 1,000 consumers were polled in each of three countries — Australia, the US and Germany — in a poll commissioned by US-based digital services provider Riverbed to explore the ways in which consumers are blending online and in-store shopping.
The findings were compiled into the Riverbed Retail Digital Trends Survey 2019.
According to the research, almost nine in 10 Australians (87 per cent) put a retailer’s digital shopping experience on par with pricing when determining where to splash their cash.
Two-thirds said that investment in digital or in-store shopping experiences would lure them into a business they had never previously shopped at, while 42 per cent said that they had already ventured into a store specifically because they found the online experience appealing. Among Millennials, 60 per cent had been lured into a store because of the brand’s digital offering.
In-store digital offerings were also found to be more than just flashy attractions but were actively used by just over half (57 per cent) of consumers. Even more (79 per cent) believe that retailers will struggle to survive without a strong digital component to the customer experience.
Just like product, however, the technologies offered by retailers do not have a one-size-fits-all appeal.
Free Wi-Fi was the biggest drawcard for Australians, with 30 per cent nominating this as their first choice digital offering in-store. A close second was doing away with printed receipts in favour of electronic ones (24 per cent), with store-specific mobile apps (22 per cent) the third most popular.
That was followed by price-conscious shoppers nominating third-party mobile apps that provide digital coupons or price comparison services (18 per cent).
“The Australian retail industry is going through a tremendous period of change, with retailers struggling to remain relevant to consumers,” the company’s ANZ vice president, Keith Buckley, said.
“With customer expectations continually on the rise, delivering a positive digital experience to consumers has never been more critical to retail success.”
He added: “This doesn’t mean retailers must invest in every new technology that comes along, but what we are hearing is that near-term IT investments that boost the online and in-store experience will be the sweet spot to giving customers the best experience possible.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.