The path to purchase is changing. Current consumers will be inspired or have a moment of inspiration which drives them to start researching where they might purchase their newly desired item. This moment of inspiration may have been spurred on by an Instagram story or Facebook Ad. The customer will even go so far as to add to the cart before pausing for a moment to consider if this decision is the right one.
At this point in the journey, the customer will conduct research. Pricing, shipping and estimated time of arrival are all factors. If the customer decides that the product is worth purchasing from the original source they will come back into the website direct. Or perhaps can be prompted by an abandoned cart reminder email. But if they come back to the website 7 days later to make the purchase, no amount of attribution can track them. The moment of inspiration is lost in the sales process.
Holiday shoppers may have different approaches to where, how and when they buy, but they also have something in common: their shopping journeys usually start online.
Last year, a joint holiday report between Google and Ipsos found most Canadian holiday shoppers are omnichannel. They use multiple sources while shopping (such as visiting a website or heading to a store) and split their time almost equally between online and offline channels.
While omnichannel has been a buzzword for a few years now, the truth is, it’s just how we shop — we use multiple touchpoints. We’re all omnichannel shoppers, researching and buying both online and in-store.
Canadian holiday shoppers spent 43% shopping online and 57% offline.
So what’s driving so many Canadians online, offline and back again? Holiday shoppers are heading online to decide where to shop. Canadian holiday shoppers are choosing which stores to visit based on their online research.
The report found that 39% of holiday shoppers were looking up local store information, and 31% were searching for nearby stores.
Of the shoppers using search, millennials are the generation least likely to choose a physical store over an online one, with most of their purchases happening online. However, when they do shop in-store, 82% of millennials are searching online first.
Omnichannel customers head online to help inform their purchase decision, whether they end up making their purchase or not. Last year, 53% of holiday shoppers searched online for specific products, and more than three-quarters of those who visited a store had also searched online, visited a website app, or watched an online video related to shopping.
Shoppers want to feel more confident.
Shoppers have access to a world of products and reviews online, but some people need to see a product to believe in it. Top reasons for heading in-store include wanting to feel confident they’re making the best possible choice and wanting to see the product in-person.
60% of Canadians are doing their holiday shopping offline.
Almost half say getting their shopping done as soon as possible is important to them. Quick-and-easy access is also a priority, with 44% of holiday shoppers saying they want to quickly receive the item they’re buying, and 32% choosing where to buy gifts based on how soon they can get them.
Customers are hunting for deals.
Holiday shoppers also want to feel certain they’re getting the best deal, and are using their smartphones to shop around while in stores. Almost half are using their smartphones to compare prices with other stores, and 41% are checking for deals.
What does this all mean for retailers?
With so many Canadians turning to more than one shopping source during the holidays, companies should plan for ways to reach customers online and offline. Although the holiday season has begun, there’s still time to execute omnichannel plans now.
- Prepare your website and open the doors to your store: Think of your digital ads and online presence as the doors to your online store. Make sure your store product inventory is available online and holiday hours are updated and accurate on your website and on Google Maps through Google My Business.
- Keep reviews front-and-center to greet shoppers, and make sure your mobile site is working and ready to handle the increased load.
- Drive campaigns to your store: Online advertising doesn’t just drive online sales — it drives omnichannel sales. Adding drive-to-store campaign types and strategies that achieve both online and offline goals will allow you to capture holiday shoppers as they engage with your brand across multiple channels.
Social media is a high-performing channel in every customer-facing—and employee-facing—aspect of communication. From driving purchases to attracting talent, social now plays a key role in accelerating business growth.