afaqs! news bureau

Internet pivotal for offline shopping: Google Study

Google has conducted a new study titled 'Shopper Path-2-Purchase’ to understand the impact of growing internet penetration and changes in buying behaviour of shoppers in India. The study revealed that the lines between online and offline shopper behaviour are blurring. According to the report, urban offline shoppers are using the internet in multiple ways, even in their offline shopping routines.

Compiled by Ipsos, the study was conducted across seven different product categories including; accessories, skin care, baby care, make up, home decor and computers. The study decodes the influence of digital across different stages of an urban offline shopper’s journey.

In the pre-purchase phase, the report highlights that the Internet is now established as a natural go to place for any kind of information needs of the users. The report underlines that the online habit has been already created, even for the offline shoppers who are now going online to find information even when they’re in store before making the final purchase.

Commenting on the report, Vikas Agnihotri, country director — sales, Google India, said, “With over 460 million Indians online, on-the-go search is now an established habit that is resulting in shoppers to be on a constant look out for information and satiate their need to make an informed decision before buying a product even when they are in a store. While online shopping users were considered as more digitally savvy, the report reveals that urban offline shoppers are equally adept and engage with digital touch points throughout their purchase journey. The propensity to explore, assess, validate and assimilate information at convenience has made digital a default destination for the urban offline shopper. Irrespective of gender or product category, Indian shoppers are comfortable navigating through the numerous touch points (physical as well as digital) available to deftly derive the best overall value.”

Breaking down the offline shopper’s purchase journey, the report expounds the role of digital touch points in the shopper’s decision making process across pre-purchase phases and in-store journeys. In the pre-purchase phase, 55 per cent of urban offline shoppers turn to digital in the case of home decor or baby care and 62 per cent in the case of men’s apparel.

Pre-Purchase vs In-Store digital touchpoints
Pre-Purchase vs In-Store digital touchpoints

The report highlights that the in-store purchase phase is an extension of the exploration pre-purchase phase where offline shoppers engage with different touch points for further verification and validation. In-store cues such as visual merchandising, point of sales material, and promotion definitely have an impact on offline purchase decisions, but shoppers continue to compare prices, explore discounts and promotional offers for their chosen product via online touch points while in-store. The internet is also leveraged to gain further information or validate new inputs received at the store.

The report also studied triggers and post purchase behaviour, revealing that the engagement with online touchpoints does not cease even after the purchase has been made. Shoppers are still indulging with the category post the actual purchase.

According to the report, one in every three shoppers was observed to be engaging with the category online after the purchase. Shoppers are either using social media to post pictures, share their experience or share reviews.

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