Report: Digital devices significantly impact shopping habits

New survey on Australia's retail environment reveals majority of customers use a digital device before shopping in-store

The rapidly evolving online landscape could see digital influencing the majority of retail in-store visits in Australia sooner than you think.

Deloitte’s latest report, Navigating the new digital divide – digital influence in Australian retail, reveals 65 per cent of customers use a digital device before shopping and 31 per cent while shopping. Digital now influences 40 per cent of retail bricks-and-mortar store visits and using digital devices to research, find and compare products boosts conversion to sales by 25 per cent.

Deloitte Digital partner, Katherine Milesi said historically, local retail sales have not gone online in Australia as quickly as in other markets, but that is changing quickly.

“Digital is becoming an integral part of every element of the in-store shopping experience,” she said. “Australian retailers need to understand how to harness its influence to increase conversion rates and order sizes. When consumers use digital devices to research, find and compare products – before, during and after shopping in-store – it boosts both average conversion rates by 25 per cent and order sizes by 21 per cent.”

When comparing digitally-influenced retail sales globally, Australia comes in third at 40 per cent, behind the US at 49 per cent and Canada and 41 per cent. Australia was ahead of Germany (30 per cent), the Netherlands (30 per cent) and the UK (27 per cent).

“Global brands have educated Australian consumers to expect internationally competitive pricing, an endless aisle and greater shopping convenience,” Deloitte partner and retail industry leader, David White, said. “Digital will soon be the deciding success factor in retail.”

Deloitte defines ‘digital influence’ as the percentage of traditional bricks-and-mortar retail visits affected by shoppers’ use of digital devices before or during the shopping trip. Should Australia follow the same trend as the US – where such behaviour has multiplied four times over the last three years – Deloitte expects digital to influence a majority of retail in-store visits in Australia within the next few years.

Digital firmly embedded across the shopping journey

The report revealed two-thirds of customers use a digital device before their shopping trip and nearly a third use it while shopping. Additionally, almost half of customers surveyed said they will use their device to compare products, with 42 per cent to access product information and 33 per cent to check product availability.

“Online shopping used to be considered as distinct to bricks-and-mortar stores,” White said. “Digital and traditional shopping channels are blending and complementing each other along the end-to-end customer journey. It will be critical to the future of the store – not the cause of its demise.”

Australia potential digital influence projection

Tips for Australian retailers to adapt

To adapt to this new reality, Deloitte suggested Australian retailers may need to:

  • Reimagine the customer experience – to offer a relevant and personalised experience throughout the customer journey through a deep understanding of customer preferences and shopping behaviours;
  • Reset pricing strategy – to allow greater speed and flexibility in setting and changing prices to attract customers and maintain margins;
  • Rethink the supply chain – to expand ranges without the associated cost, improve delivery convenience to customers and create cost efficiencies in the value chain;
  • Redefine the role of the store – to blend the physical and digital experience more seamlessly and reconsider the purpose of the store in the shopping journey or experience;
  • Reinvent the in-store employee experience – to bridge the current digital gap in the in-store experience.

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