• GUEST BLOG: Understanding changes in shopping habits

    By Russ Powell, Head of Marketing, Red Hot Penny

    The way we shop is constantly changing. From post-war austerity, through the economic boom of the 1950s to the dot com explosion of the 2000s our High Streets, shopping habits and expectations have altered beyond recognition.

    Online sales have risen steadily over the last 10 years, making up 16.3% of all British retail salesin 2017. And the effect on the high street has been clear with numerous brands either struggling badly or having already disappeared.

    This is a huge contrast to the success that online retailers are seeing at the moment with sales at the top 20 online-only retailers growing by nearly a quarter (23%) in the last year alone.

    But even the way we shop online is now changing. Sales made on smartphones in the UK have increased by 13% in just the first quarter of 2018 according to Criteo – a big jump in a short space of time.

    Smart speakers are also steadily becoming a must-have with nearly 25 million smart speakers sold in 2017, driving the rise of voice searches.

    Predictions by ComScore say that more than 50% of all searches will be voice-based by 2020. And considering Amazon Echo owners increase spending on Amazon by 6% after purchasing the speaker, it gives an idea of how consumers are using the devices – to shop.

    So, what do these changes in shopping habits mean for retailers?

    Shopping habits are all about convenience so you need to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to shop with you. A functioning website isn’t enough though. To stay relevant, you also need to think about:

    • Online visibility

    If your website is hidden on page 5 of Google’s search results, customers might not even realise they can buy from you. A fully-optimised website that ranks for related searches is essential.

    • Mobile First

    If it isn’t already, your site should be mobile optimised so it’s as easy as possible for customers to buy products with their smartphone. Every page and navigation feature should be designed with mobile in mind – fast site speeds are a must.

    • The rise of voice search

    This will see a growth in longer, more conversational searches. So webpages need to be relevant, work seamlessly on mobile and be easily readable to be picked as a voice search result.

    Voice search may also come in useful for driving footfall to stores. Optimising your Google My Business Listing so it can answer things like location and opening hours queries will help direct customers to you.

    Retailers need to stay ahead of the curve and embrace new shopping habits, because failing to keep up has already caused well-loved brands to go bust.

    To find out more about voice search and its rising influence take a look at our Slam Down blog or find out what your voice search IQ is with our quiz.

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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