by Markus Eichinger
December 04, 2019

Today we live in a culture of convenience. If there is one thing that consumers now want more than anything else it is a unified, connected experience. This was exemplified in our recent global shopping report, which analyzed consumer preferences, spending habits and purchasing methods worldwide. The results of the independent survey of 4,500 consumers found that two-thirds said that unified commerce was a key factor in choosing where they shop.

There is, perhaps, a misnomer that all commerce now is undertaken on a virtual high street. Physical stores remain hugely relevant to the modern shopper. However, there has been a significant shift in how consumers want their brand to interact with them and getting this right is inherent to their success.

Keeping pace with technology

How consumers shop is changing. The global online retail boom has empowered shoppers to buy where they want, whenever they want, with faster access than ever before to the next must-have products and bargains.

Shoppers are seeking choice. None more so in how they pay. Fueled by technology, payment methods and purchasing channels have been transformed. As consumers become more tech savvy, retailers must embrace technology to keep pace. Digital payments are now predominant in the purchasing process – with over 90% of consumers having used cashless payment methods both online and in-store. The main reasons cited for paying this way in-store are speed (33%) and convenience (32%). When making an online purchase, security (37%) was the main driver for paying digitally. While card payments remain the most popular method for cashless payments worldwide, mobile wallets are significantly more popular in Asia.

Due to the global nature of the online marketplace, it is imperative to help consumers from other regions feel safe. Having familiar payments methods available when shopping with a foreign website/seller is key for consumers, with most consumers (92%) reporting this.

The need for consistency

Consistency is also key. While 70% of shoppers prefer to purchase in-store, consistent cross-channel experiences are vital to consumers. Consumers are becoming much savvier about how they shop. For example, 9-in-10 either research the products they want to purchase online before buying in-store (93%) or vice versa (88%). Such cross-channel product research is particularly important to Brazilians with almost 60% saying they do this for all or almost all purchases.

More than two-thirds (70%) of respondents say that if a brand doesn’t offer cross-channel purchasing options, it would influence their decision to shop there. This rises to over 90% of shoppers in Hong Kong. Shoppers today are “always on” so maintaining an up-to-date online shop is key. Interestingly, those that shop online most often do so while they are relaxing (74%), watching TV (48%) or in bed (37%).

Quid pro quo 

Another thing that was clear from the research was that the vast majority of consumers value data-driven, customer-centric value-added services; with loyalty programs being used by 88% of those surveyed. It is a modern-day quid pro quo. Something of value, for something else. Over three-quarters of consumers surveyed said they are willing to share personal data in return for incentives such as a larger discount. It is particularly popular in Hong Kong, where 95% of consumers use loyalty programs.

 

Keeping customers coming back

Despite the worldwide boom in online retail over the past years, shopping in physical stores is still an attractive proposition for consumers – but only if the purchasing experience is an integrated one and unifies all sales channels through innovative technology and data-driven incentives.

While retailers focus a lot of their efforts on pricing – especially around Singles’ Day and Black Friday – an integrated, consistent and frictionless buying journey is what will keep a customer coming back time and time again. To that end, only those brick and mortar stores that embrace the latest in-store technology innovation and have a fully integrated e-commerce backend will survive.

Our report highlights that if customers can see a concrete benefit to providing personal information, they are willing to do so. This information, in turn, provides brands critical customer data they can analyze to optimize their offerings and improve loyalty.

The Wirecard digital financial commerce platform allows merchants worldwide to easily combine their distribution channels and meet the needs of today’s consumers. For further insight and more information about consumers’ shopping behavior, download the Wirecard Global Shopping Report.

There is a misnomer that all commerce now is undertaken on a virtual high street. Physical stores remain relevant, but there is a shift in how consumers want their brand to interact with them — getting this right is inherent to their success.

In many ways, technology is leading to the world condensing. However, cultural differences from country to country have never been stronger. Here are some of our favorite findings:

  • 45% of consumers in Hong Kong and Singapore regularly pay via mobile wallets versus the global average of 25%
  • Nearly four-in-ten (39%) Brazilians are extremely willing to give up personal information in exchange for bigger and better deals
  • A third (33%) of the French like to shop online when on holiday, considerably more than the global average of 22%
  • The most “focused” staff are in Germany where only 12% shop while at work, in comparison to 34% in Brazil
  • Use of the second screen to shop while watching TV is most prevalent in the UK (66%)
  • Perhaps due to their warm climate, 81% of Australians prefer to shop in physical shopping outlets, much higher than the global average of 70%
  • Over a quarter (26%) of French consumers continue to purchase music in-store, bucking the global trend
  • Significantly fewer Americans buy their holidays online (46%) versus the global average of almost six-in-ten (57%)
  • The highest percentage is in Singapore, with two thirds (67%) of holidays being bought online
  • Almost half (49%) of Brazilians buy their pet supplies in store versus the global average of 38%
  • Conversely, 36% of Germans go online to buy their home furnishings, far more than the global average of 22%
  • And finally… consumers from the US are the most likely (21%) to shop while on the toilet