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Social media still second to in-store shopping


January 31, 2013
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Jan. 31, 2013,  Toronto — When it comes to shopping, platforms like
Facebook and Twitter aren’t replacing the in-store experience, according
to a PwC report on the myths of multi-channel spending.

According to the Multi-Channel Retail Survey, while 42 per cent of
Canadians use social media at least once a day and an additional 17 per
cent use these channels once a week, just seven per cent of these
consumers are using social platforms to shop.

However, the report
shows consumers are still using social media to engage with retailers
and gain more information about companies’ value propositions. Nearly
half of those surveyed (44 per cent) say they use social platforms to
follow their favourite brands – a trend that PwC advises Canadian
retailers to take notice of.

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“Social media is a daily part of
life for many Canadians and with increased competition for market share
and more US retailers entering the Canadian market, companies now need a
strategy that allows them to connect with customers directly online,
while still providing a seamless in-store experience,” said Robert
Scott, PwC’s national consumer, industrial products and services leader.

“It
has become crucial for retailers to create a platform that focuses on
engagement and conversation and puts the emphasis on building strong and
lasting relationships with consumers.”

Price not always king

The
report analyzes the factors that consumers take into account when
choosing brands, and surprisingly, cost isn’t always top of mind. In
fact, while nearly three-quarters of respondents (74 per cent) say that
price is important when deciding where to shop, this factor is outranked
by five other drivers: the products on offer; ease of using the
retailer’s website; a good return policy; a sense of trust in the brand
or retailer; and the stores themselves.

“For the savvy consumer,
value isn’t just about price,” said Scott. “Shoppers want the whole
package, and as a result, brand personality and access are what drive
customer choice and ultimately grow revenue. This further emphasizes the
need for retailers to make meaningful engagement with consumers a
priority, both online and off."

Other Canadian highlights from the 2013 Global Multi-Channel Retail Survey include:

  • Canadian
    brands find themselves in a tough struggle against their US
    competitors. Only three Canadian companies – Chapters Indigo, Canadian
    Tire and The Bay – rank in the top ten favourite multi-channel retailers
    for consumers.
  • In Canada, physical stores aren’t going anywhere
    anytime soon. One-quarter of respondents (compared to 17 per cent
    globally) say they rarely, if ever, shop online. And, of the countries
    surveyed, Canada is second only to Russia when it comes to rejecting
    online shopping.
  • Brands have the opportunity to overtake
    retailers as the preferred place to purchase. While just 39 per cent of
    Canadian shoppers are shopping at brand sites, the trend globally is
    shifting, as more than half of consumers in both China (56 per cent) and
    the U.S. (52 per cent) are going to the brand directly.
  • The
    multi-channel experience leads to more spending. When Canadian consumers
    shop both online and in-store, the majority (53 per cent) spend more at
    their favourite retailer than they would through a single-channel like
    in-store only. Furthermore, almost a third (30 per cent) increase their
    spending by at least 10 per cent.
  • Tablets aren’t yet at the
    point of replacing the PC as the preferred online shopping device. Just
    14 per cent of Canadians who shop online say they make purchases on a
    tablet at least once a month—well below the 56 per cent who indicate
    that they use their PC to shop. This gap isn’t expected to change
    rapidly within the next year, as only eight per cent plan to make more
    purchases using a tablet, compared to nearly a quarter (24 per cent) who
    expect to expand their shopping through their PC. Smartphone purchasing
    isn’t making serious inroads either, suggesting that the PC will remain
    the preferred device for online shopping for the foreseeable future.

The
2013 Global Multi-Channel Retail Survey analyzes 10 myths of
multi-channel retailing. PwC’s international survey unit undertook the
study in order to understand and compare consumer shopping behaviour and
spot the patterns in multi-channel across 11 countries: Canada, Brazil,
France, Germany, China, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, U.K., U.S.
and Turkey. Over 11,000 individuals participated in the online survey in
July and August 2012, including 1,333 in Canada.

Results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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