High Street Not Dead: Aussie Retailers Get A Boost From Study

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable woman out shopping in the city

In news that should please the Australian high street, Blis, the global leader in real-world intelligence, has today revealed that 63 per cent of Australians favour an in-store shopping experience over online, as part of a new study into consumer shopping habits.

“The Real Retail Story” surveyed 805 Australian consumers and found that there is a strong preference for brick-and-mortar stores across most categories, with the majority of respondents stating that they’re willing to spend more in-store than online.

Blis managing director AUNZ Nick Ballard said that we’ve long heard Australian retail is doomed with the rise of Australia’s e-commerce market, but rather than viewing technology as an existential threat, there are instead new opportunities to engage with consumers in more engaging and effective ways.

“The role of the physical store is as important as ever,” Ballard said.

“The power of brick-and-mortar is in providing consumers with an immersive shopping experience, with over half of Aussies preferring to see, touch and feel the quality of the product before buying.

“Shopping online just doesn’t have that same hands-on experience.

“But despite this affection for the visceral and tactile joy of shopping at physical stores, technology and e-commerce have conditioned Australian consumers with new habits and expectations.

“Consumers do not see a delineation between online and offline shopping, rather the modern consumer journey fuses both worlds and it is imperative that brands and retailers do the same.”

An evolving retail ecosystem

The Real Retail Story shows that showrooming, where a customer visits a store to examine a product before buying online at a lower price, and webrooming, where a customer researches a product online before purchasing in-store, are commonplace trends in an Australian consumer’s shopping journey.

The study reveals that while 43 per cent of consumers admit to showrooming, also 63 per cent admit to webrooming.

A further 59 per cent of respondents said they actively use their mobiles while shopping in-store to:

  • compare prices on the best deals (74 per cent)
  • check online for a discount voucher (35 per cent)
  • read reviews (34 per cent)
  • ask friends and family for opinions on their potential purchase (30 per cent)

Relevant real-world advertising leads to immediate purchase

The report provides insight into how brands can harness the power of real-world, location-based advertising to boost conversions, with:

  • 37 per cent of respondents admitting that they have visited a store to search for a product they have seen advertised online while outdoors
  • 4-in-5 of respondents of these store visitors ended up purchasing the advertised product.

“Brands looking to succeed in this climate must appeal to today’s shopper by offering a omni-channel experience that uses mobile as the bridge between digital and physical,” said Ballard.

“Understanding consumer motivations, preferences and behaviours, and developing hyper-relevant content at the moments and locations that matter most to consumers is key.”

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