It has now become customary for consumers to use physical and digital channels in an integrated manner, creating differentiated purchase routes according to the desired products and their consumption habits.
To take advantage of these developments, companies must face the challenge of omnichannel from a strategic point of view through an integrated design between physical space and digital environment. It is necessary to renew the role of physical stores by integrating them with digital channels to ensure continuity, consistency and allow hybrid shopping experiences.
Today's consumers are increasingly informed and able to manage all the touchpoints to have a seamless experience and this is also confirmed by the data.
A recent research by the Multichannel Observatory, promoted by the School of Management of the Politecnico of Milan and by Nielsen, has shown that the multichannel consumers are as much as 43.9 million, equal to 83% of the Italian population over the age of 14.
Among them 37% are called InfoShopper, that is consumers who use the web not to conclude the purchase but only for information or in the post-sale phase, while 63% are eShopper, that is users who use the network in all stages of the purchasing process.
Furthermore, based on the propensity to use digital channels during the purchase phase, the Multichannel Observatory has identified four main segments within the eShopper consumer group:
- Cherry Picker: more conservative users who are mainly informed through traditional information sources (29%);
- Everywhere Shopper: consumers who move freely from one channel to another during all phases of the purchase process (25%);
- Money Saver: users approaching eCommerce driven by the need for savings (23%);
- Pragmatic: those who use the web to increase purchasing efficiency, saving time and money (23%).
These categories are characterized by a different buying behavior: the information gathering and price comparison phase, for example, happens in most cases online except for the Cherry Pickers who use the web less during the pre-purchase phase.
As for the device used for the purchase, the PC remains the tool most used by all categories followed by mobile and tablet. The mobile establishes its key role in bringing consumers to the physical store.
The practice of using the various channels in a hybrid and synergistic way with a mix of contact points both online and offline is certainly growing significantly.
Digitization is concretely affecting the business models of companies not only in the B2C sector but also in B2B and being aware of what today's multichannel means is crucial for the development and maintenance of a competitive positioning within the market.
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