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Even For Tech Purchasers, In Store Experience Remains Critical
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Even For Tech Purchasers, In Store Experience Remains Critical

Despite the overwhelming shift to online versus in-store shopping, new research shows that even for tech purchasers, the in-store experience still reigns supreme.

Holmes Report

Despite the overwhelming shift to online versus in-store shopping, new research shows that even for tech purchasers, the in-store experience still reigns supreme.

According to Citizen Tech, a new two-part North American study commissioned by Citizen Relations and powered by Vision Critical’s customer intelligence platform, twice as many Americans say they are “webrooming,” a term used to describe consumers who compare products online and then purchase them at retail (64 percent), rather than the much-hyped showrooming, which is the reverse when consumers compare products in-store but buy online (32 percent).

Moreover, the study shows a rise in another trend: while in the technology aisles of a retail store, more than 15 percent of shoppers are using a mobile device to comparison shop for better specs and lower prices online right then and there, which the firm calls “mob-aisling” (pronounced ‘mobiling’).

According to the study, Americans surveyed say they prefer buying at traditional retail locations because they want to see and feel the product (61 percent), don’t want to pay online shipping fees (47 percent), or want the item immediately (46 percent). Speaking to someone in the store before making a purchase decision proves to be important for shoppers surveyed (37 percent), especially the 55+ year old set (47 percent).

The study also found that tech savvy purchasers in the US who actively “mob-aisle” are rewarded for their in-the-moment research in negotiating a better deal. In fact, they were four times more likely to score a deal in-store (53 percent) than those who tried and failed (11 percent), illustrating the power of real-time research and giving it the old college try.

“As a consumer engagement agency, we see two distinct opportunities for CE manufacturers and retailers alike: first, the data demonstrates that Americans remain skeptical of online shopping, likely fueled by recent high-profile data breaches, so there is more to be done to build consumer trust and confidence. Second, as the ‘mob-aisling’ trend continues to rise, there is huge opportunity to more actively engage with consumers to simplify the process, whether that’s in-store or online,” says Erin Georgieff, managing director of Citizen Relations’ US consumer technology practice.

Other findings:
• Early Adopters are do-it-yourselfers when it comes to figuring out new technologies (57 percent), while the overwhelming majority of Laggards look to others for help (nearly 80 percent).
• The confidence Early Adopters have translates into positive thoughts when buying technology, with the majority saying they feel excited (71 percent), happy (60 percent) and optimistic (57 percent), while Laggards equate buying technology to negative feelings like unsure/uncertain (35 percent), anxious (34 percent) and worried (30 percent).
• Technology news and reviews are driving initial awareness of new products in the US (34 percent), followed by word-of-mouth (27 percent) and brand advertising (23 percent).
• For Early Adopters and the Majority, tech news and reviews play a much larger role (52 percent and 35 percent, respectively) than for Laggards (only 15 percent).
• Laggards rely largely on WOM from friends/family (41 percent), followed by brand advertising (27 percent).
• When it comes to researching new products, the opinions of family and friends take a starring role (43 percent of Americans surveyed, especially among the Majority, 47 percent and Laggards, 52 percent), followed by product descriptions on brand websites (36 percent, which also is the number one source for Early Adopters) and expert reviews (33 percent).

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