Omni-Shopper Journey

E-commerce is growing steadily all the time, but despite this, the German retail sector still generates over 80 per cent of its revenue through bricks-and-mortar stores. Cross-channel (omnichannel) commerce is thereby the order of the day: While customers are almost at the point where they require an additional online offer when shopping at a “static” business, more and more online pure players are actually opening their own storefronts.

On behalf of Stein Promotions, the EHI has shed light on the all-round “customer journey” (both on- and offline) of the client with regards to the sectors of ”consumer electronics” (CE), “food retail” (FRB) and “pharmacy” (OTC). The aim is to understand how the customer uses the available channels on the journey from their first buying impulse to the actual purchase, how they assess the advantages of the channels and how large the differences are between sectors.

The original working hypothesis, according to which the differences between the sectors must be significant, as the online shares of the market differ between 1% and 30%, could well be rejected on the grounds of this study!

In fact, universal requirements and expectations on trade have emerged from the consumer, with these elements being clearly identifiable across all three samples of the online survey that was carried out. Of course, there are differences on the basis of the different product specifications, but these emphatically are not based on the wishes of the consumer.

It may seem so trivial: It is always the same consumer, who is shopping in different sectors with a stable set of needs and wishes, a stable set of experiences and knowledge. Accordingly, their demands and requirements are similar across different sectors. Experiencing and testing the products can, for example, be seen as an advantage in all of  the sectors under consideration, if indeed it is allowed. Overall, we managed to identify four major, general categories of needs:

  • Inspiration
  • Security
  • Price consciousness
  • Convenience shopping

When it comes to trade, therefore, every sector must conform to these needs above all else, whilst also taking into account any particularities arising from product and application context in each case.

It also means, however, that it is possible to think outside the box: every retailer can observe which solutions work in other sectors, which offers are well received by customers regarding other products categories, and then adapt this to their given conditions.

As part of this study, the commonalities and differences concerning the consumer electronics (CE), food retailing business (FRB) and over-the-counter (OTC) sectors were analysed and translated into recommendations for the retail trade.