The mobile internet influences the in-store shopping behaviour of users in India. Consumers are lured towards online shopping or research, rewarding convenience and discounts. CouponRani recently conducted a survey of the internet users in India to understand how the availability of Internet is impacting the offline shopping behaviour of the consumers.
With nearly 462 million total internet users, India is the second largest country in the world by the number of Internet users (as of June 2016). eCommerce industry has evolved due to the attractive pricing and convenience offered by the online retailers. A whopping 92% of internet users, who participated in the survey, claimed that they compare the price of the products, as well as read reviews and feedbacks online even when they are inside a shop. Product information, reviews and real-time pricing are instantly available online due to which consumers prefer to explore the best offering before buying any product. Customers browse the shops/stores, and if they like a particular product, they go online through their smartphones or tablets to check for a better deal, which is usually available.
However, the price is the most important factor that is considered by the consumers. More than half (54%) of offline shoppers compare the price of the product online while inside a store, whereas 18% and 20% compare products with other similar products and read reviews and feedbacks, respectively. Reviews and feedbacks are also very important factors that affect buying decision as it gives a basic idea about the product quality and user experience.
As per the findings of the survey, 72% of the consumers use mobile as their favourite research medium for shopping electronic goods. Mobile phones are handier and convenient as it is time saving when compared to tablets or desktops. A small 11% uses a tablet when shopping for food and grocery shopping. However, 48% consumers prefer buying jewellery in-store to ensure the quality and originality of the product themselves rather than depending on the reviews and feedbacks available on websites. Merely 26% consumer purchases jewellery online through desktops as they provide an enhanced experience for shopping when compared to mobile phones or tablets.
As mentioned earlier, online shopping is most preferred due to the convenience and discounts. 62% of the consumers prefer buying products online if the same product is available at store/shop. These days the online sellers offer heavy discounts on even branded products, be it clothes, electronics, apparels or even jewellery. Many of them even deliver the product on the same day with payment options like net banking, credit/debit cards, mobile wallet as well as cash on delivery. With such high level of convenience and discounts, brick & mortar shops remain just a browsing platform for the consumers.
As we all know, the price is the most influential element for a majority of shoppers. 32% of respondents said that competitive price or special discounts/offers is the most important criteria for their offline shopping. While 22% admitted that they would love shopping offline if the variety of products being offered at the store/shop. Moreover, 18% consumers said that they are affected by the detailed knowledge of a salesman. Here, the offline stores have the edge over the online stores. If a salesman knows the product inside out, it’s easier to state out the features and benefits that a consumer will get out of the product. In the case of online stores, there is no human interaction to influence a consumer to buy any product. Recommendations play a very important role in influencing a buying decision. It is tough for the offline sellers to provide competitive pricing when compared to online retailers. Brick & Mortar shops incur other costs like store maintenance due to which prices are relatively higher. Online sellers keep lower profit margins, but the huge sales volume covers it. In the case of physical stores, profit margins are comparatively higher due to higher operating cost but the sales volume is very low. Also, 14% consumers prefer offline stores if they provide free home delivery.
Talking about product categories, the majority (31%) of the consumers shop electronic items, followed by 30% of consumers buying clothes online. These categories provide a variety of options with huge discounts which attracts more and more customers. On these products, the online stores provide all the benefits of the product like warranty and guarantee for its originality. Additionally, they offer variety, discounts, free delivery and fixed period returns and exchange due to which consumers prefer the online sellers over offline sellers.
To conclude with, the offline shopping behaviour of consumers has changed to a great extent. The offline stores need to be more lucrative in terms of variety and pricing. The offline stores are having a very tough time competing with the online stores that are advancing continuously, changing the trend of traditional shopping across the globe. It’s high time for the offline sellers to take measures to stay on the run. They need to focus on the quality of service and shopping experience if they can not match the pricing with the online giants. They need to design their ads and campaigns very effectively to pool in more and more customers. As the productivity decreases, operating costs keep on increasing making it more and more difficult for these sellers. The offline players need some real-time and modern restructuring to advance along with the consumers.