The rapid advent of internet technology in recent times has enormously impacted the consumer buying behavior patterns. The Internet of Things is now more than just a hype. It is one of the primary enforcers of retail business. It is the increased inclination of consumers around the world towards the internet and internet-enabled devices that have made IoT such a dominant driver of business today.
The Consumer's Choice
Consumer Buying Behavior, over the past few years has transformed in leaps and bounds. It is most definitely the digital age and consumers have found the digital way of doing things. Whether its booking flight tickets, listening to music, making bill payments or shopping, the consumer has opted for digital means in some way or the other. Digitization has meant that the consumers are now a part of a much more interactive world and for that purpose, brands across all verticals are having to conform to this interactive world. They now reach their own conclusion before the eventual purchase based on what they feel along with effective adherence to the overall global perception in terms of online reviews and customer feedbacks among others.
Then comes the consumer's ambition to be at par with technology. The increased use of mobile phones, tablets, and other internet enabled devices allow the consumers to stay connected. A study by PWC on 23,000 respondents across 25 countries revealed that 34% of the respondents agreed to the fact that their mobile phones will be the main tool of purchase. A whopping 67% said that reading social media reviews and comments influence their buying behavior. Nchannel claims that 55% of shoppers are influenced by online reviews while making their purchase decision. Statista.com claims that by 2017, 63.4% of mobile phone users will access online content through their cell phones. Yes, it is about time that businesses started taking their customer review page seriously.
The Need for Personalization
It's no more 'Buying-the process'. It’s more of 'Buying-the experience'. Consumer buying behavior heavily depends on the experience that the consumers are having while buying. They want an enhanced shopping experience in terms of interactivity and ease of the entire procedure. They now focus on making informed choices and expect customized solutions from their retailers. Businesses that successfully recognize this fact will adopt the means of personalized marketing and as a result reap good rewards in the time to come.
A study by the Aberdeen Group in 2014 stated that 57% of their large business respondents felt that there was a definite need to address the consumer expectation of a personalized shopping experience. A study by Accenture states that 56% of smartphone users are inclined towards using their mobiles while shopping. Thus, the most viable thing that can be done in order to cater to every consumer is through personalized marketing by targeting optimized content & product recommendations to their cell phones.
Personalized and Customized marketing influence the consumers to freeze in on their purchase. This can be validated by the study conducted by Synquera which states that 85% of shoppers have preferences for personalized offers that reflect their previous purchase behavior in the past. A study by Nielsen states that 80% of smartphone owners want mobile-optimized product information while shopping in-store. In 2014, Deloitte's report stated that the total in-store sales based on smartphone interaction are estimated to be around $689 billion by 2016.
The Retailer's Insight
The strategies adopted by retailers give a clear picture about the consumer buying behavior patterns that are prevailing across the Globe today. According to Airspace (2015), 79% of brands were looking for investment in proximity marketing in the months to come. In the UK alone, 99% of the brand managers who were surveyed opted for proximity market investment. 81% of total respondents suggested that 10% of their total mobile marketing budgets would be targeted towards proximity marketing for the purpose of data collection and in-store customer tracking.
Taking the report by Forbes (2014) into consideration, retailers clearly signify that around 53% of consumers do not mind sharing their current location as they want to be a part of relevant advertising. The report also states that it is more than likely that around 57% of the consumers would engage with location-based advertising.
The major retail players have come to understand this scenario and are resorting to proximity marketing so that the gap between the Point of Sale (PoS) and the consumer can effectively be minimized or closed. Retail Giants like Apple, Macy and P&G will validate this fact.