Offline customers seek information online
When experts discuss the future of retail, there’s a sharp clash of opinions. Some claim that in future, people will only shop online, while others still think the internet is totally overrated. For its part, MediaMarktSaturn believes in the integration of offline and online channels to ensure we’re available wherever and whenever customers need MediaMarkt or Saturn. In a survey conducted together with Google researchers of the market research institute GfK have now explored how customers themselves use both channels before making a purchase, i.e. when deciding what to buy.
The results of the study make for very interesting reading. Buyers of smartphones and TVs aged at least 18 were asked about how they gathered information before making a purchase – whether by visiting bricks-and-mortar stores or online using a PC. It turned out that although 80% of smartphone customers go online when researching what to buy, 43% of those doing so then buy their phone from a physical store. Meanwhile, over half of those obtaining information online before buying a television then visit a bricks-and-mortar shop to purchase it. The study also revealed that a much higher proportion of MediaMarkt’s and Saturn’s in-store customers of both TVs and smartphones take their decision based on research on the internet. By contrast, ‘showrooming’ was found to be much less common. The share of customers obtaining information from a physical shop before buying online is 17% regarding TVs and just 10% for smartphones.
“The study clearly shows that customers don’t take decisions solely in either a physical shop or online. They collect information about products and then buy them where they see the greatest benefit,” explained Martin Wild, Chief Innovation Officer of MediaMarktSaturn. Most customers choose both online and offline retailers based on where the product is available and competitively priced. Another key argument for online shoppers is the convenience of ordering from home, whereas offline shoppers prefer bricks-and-mortar stores chiefly because they can take their purchases home with them straightaway.