It makes sense to focus on digital- wherever you sell. Brands that already operate flagship stores or sell their products via resellers in certain markets should also operate a localized online shop in each market they sell in. The same goes for retailers- if you sell somewhere, make sure you can be found online! Why? Because the consumer owns his purchase journey- and it very often starts online. Plus, consumers who integrate digital into their purchasing journey convert up to 20 percent more!

Between 2012 and 2014, the digital influence on brick-and-mortar sales grew nearly fourfold, the mobile influence by more than five times, finds a recent research study by Deloitte US. The study found that in 2014, 64 percent of all retail sales in the US were influenced by digital.

Being found by the customer

Previously to going to a shop and buying a product, many consumers have already  completed a journey of searching, researching and comparing online. 70 percent of consumers lead their own purchase journey, suggests the study. The retailers and brands thus need to find a way to become part of it- and ideally win the race. This requires stepping away from the traditional channel-perspective, stresses Jeff Simpson, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and co-author of the study: "Retailers should focus on designing and building customer experiences that play to how their customers are shopping for their products – rather than direct consumers to the point of purchase if what they really seek is inspiration or information." 

67% read online reviews

The first step is Search Engine Optimization: Will the consumer come across your brand or store when he searches his desired product on Google? Secondly, the information provided should be relevant. When selling in other countries than your home country, it is vital to provide the information online that the customer will browse for on his journey: Product descriptions, product price, and consumer reviews. No matter where you sell, it is a good thing to implement an online review tool in the local language: 67 percent read product reviews prior to making a decision.

More categories become digitally influenced

Digital behavior has evolved across all categories, most notably baby/toddler and home furnishings. The digital influence in the baby/toddler category jumped from 39 percent to 52 percent in one year, and now accounts for more than half of all brick-and-mortar sales in that sector.   Additionally, 56 percent of consumers shopping baby/toddler items consult social media for assistance. In the home furnishings category, nearly 4 in 10 consumers (38 percent) indicate they spend more when using their devices in the shopping process. 

Digital savvy customers spend more

For brands and retailer operating brick-and-mortar outlets internationally, it thus makes great sense to localize their webshops for the target markets: The customer’s decision is for a large part made before he even enters your store! Consumers who use digital while they shop convert at a 20 percent higher rate compared to those who do not use such devices. Consumers that access social media during the shopping process are four times more likely to spend more, and almost one-third (29 percent) of those surveyed are more likely to make a purchase the same day they turn to social media before or during their shopping trip.