A new way of shopping
Shopping takes a wide range of forms nowadays. It long stopped referring only to entering a bricks-and-mortar shop, picking up a few items and asking a sales person for help. Sales are getting digitalized and this puts a large impact on how retail businesses and their marketing strategy looks like.

One phenomenon feared by retailers is “showrooming”. This implies that customers visit physical shops in order to look at items, test them and even get help for sales persons, all for later on choosing to make the actual purchase on an online shop which offers better prices. Around 76% of customers are showrooming, according to a study from Interactions.

Few people know about “webrooming”, which might bring hopes back to bricks-and-mortar shops, as it’s the exact opposite of showrooming. Webrooming refers to the action of looking up and comparing products online only to make the actual purchase later on in a shop. The same study from Interactions shows that 88% of customers that have admitted to webrooming. The reason for that is that the customers are convinced that the price they receive in the physical shop is the lowest.

Digitalization empowers customers to make surprising choices, even when it leads to the customers choosing to make non-digital purchases based on digital research. For that reason, digitalization leads to offering more possibilities to the consumer and not necessarily to a switch of the shopping context to the online environment.

But how exactly are the customers being empowered?
Customers are taking selfies, sharing purchase decisions and information with friends, comparing prices. A purchase can become a social media activity that friends can advice on, that even stores can join and give feedback on.

The top advantage that real stores hold today is the personal help that sales persons can give to customers. Social media brings solutions for offering fast response to customers and adding a personal touch to assisting their purchase.

Digital customer service
Social MediaToday shows that 71% of online customers expect their questions being answered within 5 minutes of engaging with a company. There is a major consequence for companies who are not able of offering this expected help. The same study from Social MediaToday shows that 92% of UK online customers have chosen competitors when companies have offered them a poor customer service.
The empowered consumer expects and knows how to appreciate good digital customer support. A customer’s experience doesn’t begin and end in the store. There is almost always a digital dimension which takes the form of social media, of the online customer service and even of the digital exchange of information with friends. Empowering access to such tools leads to consumers feeling more confident about making the right purchase from the right place, may it be online or in brick-and-mortar shops.