Shoppers are no longer making as many impulse purchases as they did in the past, with the average customer making 9.5 visits to a brand before buying, according to the 'Measuring the Modern Shopper' white paper published by Rakuten Marketing. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

This greater degree of consideration given to purchases represents an increase of some 7 visits since January 2011, when shoppers visited a brand only 2.5 times on average before buying. And with a recent survey from Deloitte showing that 95% of online sales are incremental to store sales, there is a clear need today to provide a true omnichannel customer experience.

"Consumers' confidence in the web means they move around very quickly between devices, channels and websites. They know what they want and understand how to find it, so are making more comparisons between retailers before taking the decision to buy," said Seth Richardson, CTO for Rakuten Marketing.

Over a period of only four years, the average number of channels used before conversion also increased, from 1.25 in January 2010 to 3.25 in 2014. Mirroring this trend, a Christmas 2013 study by John Lewis found that one third of its click-and-collect customers purchased an additional item in-store, and Tesco found that 40% of grocery orders were created using more than one device. Clearly, consumers are no longer shopping purely in-store or purely online.

"Marketers now know that focusing on a single channel means missing the 'modern shopper' at crucial stages of the purchase journey. Certainly, there are operational challenges to achieve an omnichannel approach, but the real challenge is to accurately measure performance," concluded Richardson. "Without effective measurement in place, brands can't fully understand which of their campaigns are really working, and therefore how to spend their budgets wisely. With the right tools in place, marketers have the power to consolidate and clarify data, improving campaigns continually based on real-time responses."

The full white paper has been made available for free download from Rakuten Marketing's web site - click here.