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Ryan Partnership Releases Digital Shopping Tool Impact Study 2013: Emails, Product Reviews and Shopping Apps Are “Star” Tools

Different Tools Drive Trial, Impulse Purchase and Store Selection

Dallas, TX — December 19, 2013 — Ryan Partnership, an Epsilon brand, today released the results of its Digital Shopping Tool Impact Study 2013. The study found that shoppers rank tools depending of their ability to influence their shopping behavior and satisfy their shopper needs.

The Ryan study, which covered 16 different digital shopping tools, revealed that emails from brands and retailers, online product reviews and shopping apps are considered most useful by shoppers and most likely to impact shopper behavior. While daily deal websites and brand and retailer social media efforts are strong behavior changing tools, shoppers rate them as less useful than these other tools.  Search engines, brand websites and retailer websites, while considered very useful, are not as likely to impact shopper behavior.

“Shoppers today interact with brands across channels throughout the purchase process. In recent years we’ve seen an increase in the use of digital tools when it comes to shopping and the influence these tools are having on purchase behaviors,” said Kim Finnerty, Senior Vice President of Research and Insights at Ryan Partnership. “As the discipline of digital shopper marketing matures, it is critical that marketers understand which tools to deploy, and how, in order to most effectively deliver on their specific marketing objectives.”

Other key findings include:

  • Different tools are better at driving certain types of behavior than others—shoppers claim that social tools, such as online reviews and brand and retailer social media efforts are better at inciting new product trials, while “shopper outreach tools” such as email and texts from brands and retailers are more likely to motivate impulse or unplanned spending.
  • The computer remains the “go to device” for accessing digital shopping tools, but virtually all tools, which are available on multiple screens, saw significant increases in both smartphone and tablet access this year.
  • Retailer-owned, mobile-enabled tools (such as retailer emails, texts and social media) are the most likely of the multi-screen tools to be used in-store, and thus are an important way to reach shoppers at the point of decision-making.
  • Both retailer-owned and brand-owned tools impact shoppers’ choice of store, underlining once again that both constituents need to work together at the strategic and tactical levels for their mutual benefit.

Now in its third year, the Digital Shopping Tool Impact Study focuses on the ways in which digital tools are used in the shopping process and the implications for marketers.  Ryan surveyed a representative sample of over 10,000 primary household shoppers using an online survey, asking about their usage of 16 digital shopping tools in 12 retail channels and 12 product categories.