With multichannel retailing the rage, we thought it would be interesting to look at a report released by PwC this week, based on a study of 11,000 shoppers globally, which attempts to debunk what it claims are common myths. These include:
- Social media is to become an indispensable channel soon. Although not likely to be an important channel on its own, social will drive additional shopping through all channels.
- Stores will become showrooms. Physical stores will remain the centerpiece of the purchase journey for most companies.
- Tablets will overtake PCs for shopping use. This is not likely, as tablets are used at the end of the purchase journey, especially in-store, while shopping.
- Global consumers are becoming more similar. Consumers still need to be catered to on a local level, as wide ranges in behavior still exist.
- China is the model for future online retail. China's multichannel and online model is unique to its culture, which includes dramatically different shopping habits.
- Domestic retailers enjoy a "home field" advantage. Some foreign retailers are becoming favorites of domestic shoppers.
- Global online pure players enjoy a scale advantage over domestic online pure players. Domestic retailers may have better local market knowledge.
- Retailers are better positioned than brands because they are closest to customers. Consumers now shop directly with manufacturers and may not differentiate between favorite retailers and brands.
- Online retailing cannibalizes sales from other channels. Consumers spend more with favorite multichannel retailers vs. just shifting spend.
- Low price is the main spend driver. Shoppers oftentimes value quality and innovation over price.
Lisa Feigen Dugal, PwC US' retail & consumer sector advisory leader, said in a statement, "The more minutely retailers can identify how consumers are utilizing the different channels, the more success they will have."
The bottom line seems to be that shoppers have access to multiple channels as they shop, so they use various resources before deciding what/whether to purchase. The study found, for example, that 49 percent of respondents use social media every day and 59 percent use social media to follow and give feedback to brands and retailers. However, only 12 percent use social platforms to shop. PwC US' retail & consumer sector leader Susan McPartlin said, "Shopping trends may not change drastically and social media and tablets are likely not taking over any time soon."