Showrooming to evolve in 2019 as Millennials and Gen Z buy on their mobiles – while in-store

Retailers must adapt to boom in ‘browse in-store, buy online’ if they are to thrive in 2019

Millennial and Gen Z shoppers are increasingly browsing and purchasing online while in-store, reveals retail research from Conversant. According to the findings, 78% of younger generations shop both in-store and online simultaneously, and are 34% more likely than older customers to use a mobile device in a store.

“A few years ago, in-store Wi-Fi was seen as a basic marketing channel and time-waster for bored friends and partners waiting around,” comments Elliott Clayton, Senior Vice President of Media UK at Conversant. “Today’s young, savvy customers will do price comparison on their mobiles, but they might also be ordering the right size or colour of an item from your store that isn’t available on the premises.”

Research recently released from Hitachi Consulting suggests the UK’s big-name high-street retailers have acknowledged the need to adapt to online and offline channels overlapping, with three-quarters prioritising in-store Wi-Fi, alongside services like Click and Collect.

“The customer journey is not linear but merges across channels and brick-to-clicks is on the rise. Given this, providing the likes of free and reliable Wi-Fi for customers will become increasingly important as brick-and-mobile shopping becomes the norm. Smaller retailers and independents would be wise to take note and follow suit.”

The research also reveals how multi-channel customers are the most valuable for brands. Customers who shop multiple brand channels make around three more trips than those who only shop one channel.

“The fast-growing brick-and-mobile shopping trend benefits both the brand and the customer. Brands have multiple opportunities to market to consumers and capture a sale, while consumers themselves make more informed decisions when purchasing. It may seem like we’re bemoaning the closure of shops on the high-street but there’s good reason why former online-only retailers are opening physical stores – the key is syncing up offline and online,” commented Clayton.

“To seize the opportunity around brick-and-mobile engagements, brands need an online experience that enhances in-store device activity and a marketing strategy that also complements it.”