Changing world but consumer demands remain consistent
Retailers might well be adapting at a rapid rate in order to keep up with digital trends but they can at least console themselves with the fact consumers the world over all seem to have the same requirements.
The over-arching demand is for convenience. From Australia to China via Russia they all want shopping to be an always-on, cross-border, limitless retail marketplace. A key driver behind this trend is technology as this is what consumers believe will deliver their ideal ‘converged commerce’ experience.
Canvassing 500 individuals from 10 countries the ‘Retail Without Limits – Modern Commercial Society’ report from Oracle found a whopping 83% of people want retailers to invest in technology in order that this converged commerce desire becomes a reality.
This is because these consumers want to be able to trade across borders – 56% have already done so – and 70% say they want to be able to easily access information from this global marketplace about products and services ahead of purchasing.
This taps into that other global desire – greater transparency, which encompasses the issue of privacy. Care clearly has to be taken here because although 56% of consumers recognise the need to give personal information to retailers in order that their online shopping experience can be improved, as many as 55% of people have reservations or disagree with retailers having access to personal information. This is definitely something of a conundrum for merchants in this increasingly data-driven world.
For these global consumers convenience and converged commerce is underpinned by mobile. The report found that this is the fastest growing method of shopping in all countries, with 67% of people stating they are using smart-phones and other mobile devices to enhance their shopping experience.
But despite the utilising of such devices in the shopping journey consumers from around the world are still united in their appetite for the physical store. As many as 44% of people prefer to shop in-store and take their items home – this is highest in Australia where 69% of consumers expressed a preference for this type of retailing.
While there are major challenges for retailers adapting to today’s digitally driven marketplace the fact that the desires of consumers has become more homogenised presents an undoubted international opportunity for the more progressive and ambitious operators.