When the global pandemic kicked in early last year and we first started hearing the (now all too familiar) term ‘lockdown’, something significant happened.
People started shopping online not because they wanted to, but because they had to.
With many in-store businesses brought to a standstill virtually overnight, customers started searching online for the items that would have usually required a physical trip to the shops.
It’s something Google Australia and New Zealand Industry Director: Commerce, Renee Gamble experienced first-hand.
“Last year, both my oven and my dishwasher completely died within a week of each other,” Gamble explained during episode one of Google’s new On the Line series.
“Normally for such a really big-ticket purchase, I would have only felt comfortable going into a store and having a conversation with a real person and to have that more tactile touch and feel experience.
“But out of an abundance of caution and just not really being able to go into the store, I had to go online.”
A great customer experience and fast delivery meant that very soon the replacement dishwasher and oven were installed within the week.
These positive online interactions that arose last year through necessity are set to create permanent changes in customer behaviour.
And the data backs this up. Australia Post data shows that 70 per cent of Australian households shopped online during the first quarter of 2021 (a period where the country was largely unrestricted by lockdowns), marking a 12 per cent increase on the year prior.
“Overall our comfort levels with being online and ecommerce have really lifted, we’re really blending much more of those online and offline experiences,” Gamble said.
“I think this change really will stick – this ongoing fluidity. It’s the new way that we shop.”
Online vs offline
The COVID-led boom in ecommerce does not mean the in-store experience is dead, nor does it mean online and offline channels will exist independently of one another.
For brands and marketers, these consumer shifts mean it is now more important than ever to get the online and offline mix right.
“You need to build that continuous thread in terms of the experience, so that the experience you show a customer when they are online carries through in a really continuous and seamless way to the physical store experience,” said Gamble.
“Also recognise that just because you advertise online doesn’t mean that your customer will buy online. In fact, a lot of online channels, such as search, display and digital video have a massive impact on your in-store sales, that can actually drive 42 per cent of in-store traffic.”
Similarly, an in-store experience can drive online traffic as much as 40 per cent, highlighted Gamble.
GfK Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Morten Boyer pointed to research from the firm, which found that shoppers feel 52 per cent more positive about brands that connect with them through both online and offline means, rather than just one channel.
GfK’s research also found that with more than 50 per cent of Australians now completing more interactions online, customers are “more discerning” with when they want an online or offline experience.
“It’s really the brands and the retailers who get that intertwining between online and offline engagement right are going to win and be rewarded,” Boyer said.
Boyer used the example of buying a TV to illustrate the gap that can exist between an online and offline experience.
While shopping in-store for a TV, a customer might be less likely to receive impartial advice from a shop assistant and may not be able to access the same deals that they would online.
Shopping online, meanwhile, means they can compare different models and prices from a wider range of providers and seek out independent reviews.
GfK found that one in three people had a poor brand experience that did not meet their expectations.
“That gap, I think, between the online experience and the in-store experience is going to become increasingly less acceptable to people,” Boyer said.
The need for a navigator
As brands work to create an increasingly interconnected online and offline experience, the customer journey will naturally become less linear.
Boyer used the example of an individual having car problems. An initial Google Search for spare parts soon turns into a search for a new car and checking out reviews and prices for different models and makes.
Soon this same individual is looking at different financing and insurance options, making calls to get quotes, before finally returning online and making a purchase.
“People really need some steering and navigation to help them move through that complex journey,” Boyer said.
“It is important for people to be able to rely on a trusted navigator to steer them through that omni-channel journey.”
As a result, GfK saw that 70 per cent of all consumer journeys involve the use of a Google touchpoint, such as Search, YouTube or Maps.
You can see the full episode of On the Line here.
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has today released its 2021 LinkedIn Top Australian Startups List revealing the top 25 most sought-after startups to work for by Australian professionals. The annual ranking highlights startups that are growing and recruiting top talent, informed by the billions of actions taken on LinkedIn by more than 774 million professionals. This […]
72andSunny have strengthened their team in Australia with four super senior hires in strategy and creative roles. “72andSunny’s vision has always been to drive growth by impacting culture. We’re stoked to add this world class talent to the team to help deliver this,” said Ross Berthinussen, 72andSunny Sydney president. “It’s rad to have such superstars […]
Seismic has announced an expanded New Zealand (NZ) presence to support the transformation of sales and marketing teams, and enable the nation’s employers to focus on upskilling their workforces to overcome a digital skills shortage. The company has also signed NZ-based specialist consultancies, Fresh Perspective Sales (FPS) and Jumping Fox Interactive, as its first two […]
A magnitude six earthquake hit Melbourne/Naarm and areas of regional Victoria today, causing damage to some buildings. The earthquake hit at approximately 9.15am AEST – while the ABC News Breakfast team were still at their desks. Presenters Michael Rowland and Tony Armstrong were sat in the News Breakfast set discussing the program after broadcast had ended […]
The Inspired Unemployed are launching a Spotify Original podcast, giving Australians even more insight into the larrikin’s unexpected fame and adventures. Commissioned by and only available on Spotify, the first ever podcast from the duo will bring a whole new dimension to the adventures of Matt and Jack, two best mates who still can’t quite […]
In this guest post, Garth Williamson (main photo), country manager ANZ at Shutterstock, says all the evidence is in for a more inclusive workplace, but asks why are so many still shunning the idea? The evidence is clear; inclusive marketing increases brand reach, consumer engagement and drives customer brand advocacy. And yet, few brands are […]
The Masked Singer’s big reveal saw a slight drop off in audience from its Monday night episode, netting an average of 654,000 viewers. That’s a decrease of 49,000 from the previous night where, as you are sure to remember, the dancing pinata was revealed to be Lote Tuqiri. Last night was the reveal of a […]
Australasia’s largest real estate agency has released its biggest brand campaign ever that was all done in-house. The spring campaign, “Proudly Ray White”, was created to help service the more than 730 Australian offices under the leading group’s umbrella. Spearheaded by Ray White marketing manager Todd Alexander and brand manager David Williamson, the campaign was […]
American beer brand Pabst Blue Ribbon wants to pay drinkers to plaster their homes with ads for the brew. The oddball campaign is called “In home advertising” and, despite the fun, works more as a clever piss-take of the advertising game. Apparently the idea for the ad came about when the client complained of the […]
Leading cultural insights and strategy company The Lab today announced the promotion of three senior staff members to executive positions in its Melbourne and Sydney offices. The promotions follow strong growth for The Lab, with the addition of new clients and the launch of its innovative new artificial intelligence and machine learning division, Lab AI, […]
Alex Huntley, Booktopia’s head of customer experience, recently appeared at software company Freshworks’ recent digital CX summit RE:SOLVE. During the summit, Huntley shared his thoughts on future-proofing customer service architecture.Huntley sat down with B&T to discuss Booktopia’s partnership with Freshworks and how it has helped their platform develop. B&T: Why did Booktopia first decide to partner […]
The Edison Agency has made four new appointments in its Sydney office to service the continued growth across key account The Arnott’s Group and the recent appointment to Nestlé Oceania’s strategic packaging design roster. Over the past 12 months, the culmination of strategic and creative work across the Uncle Toby’s brand and continued growth of […]
SCA has announced a new smart speaker experience for the Hit Network, with Tom and Olly’s Guide to Lockdown. A voice-activated way to get inspiration and information on fun activities that can be done at home, the guide is curated to appeal to a wide audience. Smart speaker users will find a range of ideas […]