Consumers prefer online to in-store for product discovery

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Consumers prefer to discover new products online rather than in-store, according to data from customer experience company Bazaarvoice.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers say they find it easier to browse and discover new items online, compared to just one-third (32%) who say they find it easier in-store.

Consumers also browse and discover items more frequently when shopping online – 61% of consumers say they do, but only 34% say the same about in-store purchases. This may be because consumers enjoy browsing and discovering more online, with 54% vs. 40% who enjoy it more when in-store.

A more enjoyable and creative buying process is behind the growing popularity of social commerce with brands and consumers. Part of this growth is in community commerce – social media has disrupted the buying journey and allowed more spontaneous discovery, inspiration and enjoyment when shopping online.

Bazaarvoice also finds that convenience is the number one reason shoppers discover more online than in-store, with 55% saying so. More choice (46%) and the ability to search for reviews / products (45%) are also popular.

However, consumers are more likely to make impulse purchases when shopping in-store – 67% say they are likely to do so, but only 53% say the same when shopping online.

As e-commerce has grown rapidly, in-store retail may need to have a focus beyond shopping in order to connect with customers. Using physical space for content and social experiences could be an effective strategy. Tying this to an online sales strategy is also fundamental as the two are not separate and it is important that one channel does not cannibalize another.

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