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The Client in 2013

  • New technologies and new trends on the Web will affect the traditional buying process

On December 13th, 2012 there was the sixth edition of Osservatorio Multicanalità, a conference organized by the Politecnico of Milan in order to present  data and trends related to the attitudes of the consumers towards the Web. The statistics, presented by Nielsen, highlight the most important changes in the approach of the consumers in relation to the new media channels and the speed of such changes.

An example? In 2008, the users connected to the Internet were 1,5 billion, today they arrive to 2,3 billion. Four years ago, Facebook users represented 10% of Internet population (130 million), in 2012 they represent 40% (1 billion). One of the fastest growing phenomena in the last four years has been perhaps Twitter: in 2008 the tweets sent per day were 0,3 million, today we arrive at 400 million and the figure is growing and it represents an essential opportunity for all the companies and institutions that want to communicate with their consumers of followers. An example of it could be the subscription of Pope Benedict XVI or the strategy adopted by X – Factor in order to involve the TV watcher using Twitter (33% of tweets sent in Italy are a review of a TV show).

The presence of companies on a Social Network is not only functional to increase brand awareness but it is also useful to implement CRM policies. CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy supported by a technology and, if it is approached properly, could provide a competitive advantage for all the companies which are able to listen to their customers, by building profitable relationships with them.

Digital opportunities could help managers not only in Social Media Marketing strategies but also in sales strategies. The analysis outlines a trend which is increasingly oriented to the multichannel: from the advertising message of the TV we go to the search of information and to the purchase of goods and services entirely on a PC, a smartphone or a tablet. 45% of American consumers shop using their tablet, sat on their sofa while watching TV. What we have therefore is a squeeze of the buying process which is faster and more immediate and all the companies should try to seek the right mix of communication.

Even the advent of the mobile has changed the consumer experience: in Italy, 56% of the population uses a smartphone while 5% has a tablet and even if it occupies a small percentage, it is preferred for the online shopping. The increasingly use of these devices change the paradigm of buying: the shop is now in the hands of the consumer and it is represented by a mobile device. During Black Friday in the USA (the day in which begins the Christmas shopping), there were an increase in sales of about 13% for offline shops and 21% for online channels. The majority of the purchases were made via iPad. From a certain point of view this transformation could represent a threat for traditional retailers even if the synergies of both sales channels can be used to make the consumer shopping experience unique. The traditional shop is still important in its basic characteristics such like the sight and the tact of the goods and the interaction with the salespeople. On the other hand, experiences like the customization of the product and the comparison of prices and opinions with other users are possible only on the Web.

According to Nielsen data, multichannel has become a massive phenomenon: the percentage of people who prefer this approach has now gone from 31% of users in 2007 to 53% of people in 2012 and companies have to adopt strategies in communication, advertising and distribution able to establish a fruitful and lasting relationship with the consumer despite the multiple facets of the buying process in 2012.

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