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76% shoppers look for product information on the Internet: Omni-Channel Shopper Study

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76% shoppers look for product information on the Internet: Omni-Channel Shopper Study

With increased choices, higher disposable incomes and exposure to global shopping formats, the Indian shopper is changing. In their Omni-Channel Shopper Study, Hansa Cequity along with Retailers Association of India (RAI) has studied how India shops across formats, both offline and online.

The survey received 1,368 responses from 86 Indian cities and towns over a three week period in May 2015.

The study looked at the new shopper, who is happy to share personal information with retailers for benefit, and who is aggressively seeking product and service related information to create an industry that’s generating revenue in billions of rupees.

All this has been made possible with the Internet and development of mobile devices, which have revolutionised the retail sector. As consumers embrace new technologies, the shopping experience has become increasingly sophisticated, enabling new ways for leading retailers to reach their audience.

“Together with Retailers Association of India, we, at Hansa Cequity, set out to study how the Indian shopper is transforming. How this nation of shoppers who loved the touch, feel and smell of the stuff we purchased had in less than five years switched behaviours and created an industry that’s generating billions of Rupees in revenue,” explained Ajay Kelkar, COO - Hansa Cequity

The Omni Channel Shoppers Study has looked in depth at how integrating and aligning channels – stores, e-stores, mobile apps and social media – omni-channel retailing has provided a flexible and seamless shopping experience for customers.

Omni-channel shopping

The study concluded that 74 per cent of respondents exhibit omni-channel behaviour. They have shopped in all formats (local retailer, large department and online). Of the 1,368 responses, 96 per cent of shoppers look out for product information before actual purchase and 76 per cent of them look out for this information over the Internet.

While young shoppers use the Internet for product research, older shoppers visit malls and high street shopping destinations to look for product information.

The research study took into consideration the contemporary shopper’s comfort with giving out personal information at stores and e-stores where they shop. 60 per cent of those who took part in the study said that they are asked for personal information when they shop, out of which 88 per cent are OK giving details. 46 per cent of online shoppers felt that they haven't been asked for personal information. On the contrary, online shoppers cannot successfully check out without providing their personal information. According to the Omni Channel Shoppers Study, young shoppers are willing to give personal info in return for rewards and incentives, while older shoppers look forward to invites to exclusive events and previews.

Tier I and Tier II markets

With part of their focus on small town consumer behaviour, the study discovered that the levels of penetration of omni-channel behaviour in the next multi-billion Rupee markets – small towns – are lagging. Some retailers are already taking measures to address this latent need of shoppers both by trying to extend the omni-channel experience and by increasing service levels

Flipkart, for example, has launched 20 stores in 10 cities to let its customers collect the items they ordered online at their convenience, mimicking similar moves from Inc in the US. Paytm plans to set up 30,000–50,000 retail outlets, where its customers can load cash on their digital wallets, and to enrol retailers – mostly kirana stores – as merchants for accepting digital payments.

FashionAndYou has opened three distribution hubs in Surat, Mumbai and Bengaluru to accelerate deliveries. While these online retailers are opening physical establishments to provide or extend omni-channel experiences, the traditional offline retailers have started logging in. Landmark, Reliance Retail and Tata Group's Infiniti Retail and the Aditya Birla Group are all aggressively starting new online channels, and integrating their physical stores to take advantage of changing customer behaviour.

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