Digital Shopping Environment
E-commerce is changing the way the people shop and search for information about products, services, brands, companies, and the respective competition. The digital shopper is more connected, savvy, adventurous, inquisitive, and informed when making their purchasing choices. Key factors that the digital shopper utilizes in the process of making a purchase decision include convenience, product selection, and value vs. price. Retailers and manufacturers must truly understand consumer needs in terms of demographics, psychographics, and preferences to engage with and capture their target market. In addition, retailers must know how specific product categories are being shopped and cater to consumer needs whether it is through brick and mortar or digital shopping. A term used in a recent Nielsen News report called the transition from traditional retail to digital shopping “brick to click.”
Websites are replacing storefronts as a place where consumers go to shop for products and services. Digital shopping allows the consumer to shop and locate the best deal in the most convenient location and through the most efficient mode of receiving the goods.
The transition to digital shopping incorporates social media channels and platforms to reach the right target market and potentially a wide audience to inform and educate consumers about products, services, and brands. Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter offer an open shopping experience where the consumer can connect directly to the retailer or manufacturer to send and receive feedback enhancing the pre-to-post purchase process. Through social media, an unlimited number of existing and potential shoppers can be reached compared to brick and mortar establishments. A customer can go online or use their smart-phone and shop directly with a retailer or use websites such as NexTag.com or Bizrate.com to see reviews, recommends, inventory and price comparisons between competitors. Social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook can be effective in notifying customers about time based deals, sales, events, or special services. Examples utilizing Twitter might be a bakery that tweets about a fresh, warm batch of sourdough bread coming out of the oven at a specific time and location or a celebrity that will make a surprise appearance at a specific time and location and give away free tickets to an event. The power of social media is an original tweet can spread like wildfire if there is a receptive audience and generate more business or brand recognition as well as boost sales and profit than traditional advertising platforms.
In today’s fast paced environment where people have busy lifestyles, social media marketing tactics can be fast, efficient, effective, and low cost (sometimes free) in capturing the digital shopper.