Despite the surge in online shopping behavior due to Covid-19, Australians still prefer to buy in brick and mortar stores, according to a new study by Toluna, a leading consumer intelligence platform.
From Toluna Australia & New Zealand Country Director Sej Patel.
The rise of virtual shopping experiences – like augmented reality and online product tries – could soon replace the need for tactile shopping experiences, as 73% of shoppers are more likely to buy products that they tried on virtually.
The study, which polled 1005 Australians between March 12-14, 2021, showed that the majority of Australian shoppers still prefer to shop in-store, especially when shopping for groceries (77%), personal care products (70%), furniture (67%) and home improvement (67%), with just over half prefer to shop for clothes (59%), beauty products (56%) and sports equipment (53%). Electronics was the only category where shoppers preferred to shop online (51%) rather than in-store (49%); where buyers mostly have their electronics delivered to their homes (32%) or opt for click-and-collect (14%).
Tactile, real-world experience button
The survey confirms what we expect from customers, namely that online shopping is convenient (64%), time-saving (54%) and easier price comparisons (50%). But despite the benefits, less than half of respondents (42%) actually enjoy shopping online, and another 40% think it depends on the business.
For those who have shopped more online because of Covid-19, it is the tactile, real-world experiences they missed the most when shopping in stores, such as z%), test items before you buy (46%), and personal customer service (50%). Interestingly, tactile shopping experiences are more important for women: 72% say they miss hand-picking items and 63% miss trying things, compared with just 61% and 51% for men, respectively. On the flip side, 54% of men said they missed personal customer service compared to just 46% of women.
Virtual experiences influence purchasing decisions
As online retailers improve their ecommerce sites – by introducing experiences like virtual product try-ons – online shopping can become more enjoyable.
Of the 13% who tried products virtually online, the majority (77%) were satisfied with their experience. 73% said they were more likely to buy products that they tried on virtually.
The highest levels of customer satisfaction were found among those who tried virtually new hair colors (89%), glasses (75%), clothing (71%), makeup (79%), shoes (75%), and watches (83%). ). Likewise, shoppers were more likely to buy hair colors (74%), glasses (67%), clothing (65%), make-up (72%) after trying them on virtually.
Almost a quarter of all respondents (24%) believe that trying on products virtually is just as good as trying on a product in real life; 27% said they would be willing to spend more on a product if they could try it on virtually before buying it.
Customer service bots need to be improved
However, live chat bots received mixed reviews from respondents. Almost half of the respondents (42%) thought chatbots were a useful tool, while over a third (37%) disagreed. When it came to boosting online purchases, 42% thought chat bots had a positive impact on their purchase, while 36% said they were unlikely to make a purchase after using a bot.
The biggest complaints about chat bots were that they couldn't solve problems (40%), customers were constantly directed to self-service frequently asked questions (40%), and respondents felt that the chat bots were accessing them prevented a living person (37%).
The study underscores the importance of the experience for buyers, be it in person or online.
We hear a lot about the importance of experiential retail and these results show us that experience is as important as ever. Buyers want to touch and feel products, try them on, talk to customer service representatives in real life. Stationary retail can rely on it and continue to offer its customers the best shopping experience.
For online retailers, it is clear that price and convenience alone are not enough for people to shop exclusively online after Covid. Customers crave a tactile shopping experience, so the ecommerce sites that add experience features like AR and virtual product trials are the ones that will stay competitive over the long term.
About Sej Patel
Sej Patel is Toluna's Country Director for ANZ. Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand. With over 20 years of consumer intelligence and data analytics experience, Sej is responsible for the continued growth of Toluna in Australia and New Zealand, helping companies make the transition to real-time consumer insights and research on demand.
Toluna delivers real-time consumer information at the pace of the on-demand economy. With a commitment to leadership through technological innovation, Toluna is revolutionizing market research and giving its customers the agility to conduct quantitative and qualitative research immediately. By combining global and local expertise with innovative digital solutions and award-winning research design, Toluna helps its customers explore the future today.