Blis, a global marketing technology provider, has published a white paper entitled "Omnichannel Consumers Treading New Paths to Purchase", which identifies the changing preferences of consumers in an omnichannel retail landscape and the opportunities for marketers to better connect with their customers. This article is copyright 2019 The Best Customer Guide.

The findings show that mobile shoppers provide a rich opportunity for retailers, with two-thirds of individuals who search for products on mobile browsers or apps more likely to complete their purchase immediately. In addition, the research uncovered that two-thirds of consumers have at least one shopping app on their phone, with 13% having five or more.

Mobile's relevance extends to the in-store experience, with 41% of consumers who engage in mobile prompts saying they would be swayed to visit a store based on a mobile ad when close to the store, and 29% stating they would be driven in-store by a mobile ad seen at home.

This connection between mobile data, particularly location data, and foot traffic is especially attractive, given that in-store remains the channel of preference for purchases for a full 35% of consumers.

"This research shows that mobile shopping has established itself as the crucial element of an omnichannel strategy," said Gil Larsen, Vice President, Americas at Blis. "Consumers today are increasingly expecting brands to deliver a seamless, connected experience across all channels. So the ability to glean real-world intelligence from consumer data to inform the shopping experience is key, particularly as retailers face increased competitive pressure from Amazon."

Heavy mobile usage holds an opportunity for other channels as well, including brick-and-mortar retail. The research found that there are ways to drive engagement and brand loyalty among consumers with innovative features and an omnichannel approach that enables consumers to move seamlessly from the online to offline shopping world. Further, more than one-third of respondents said they would spend more time in-store if they could reserve their purchase online. This provides an opportunity for marketers to draw consumers from mobile screens to in-store experiences, but requires them to find creative ways to blend the two.

Automated shoppers, automated underwear
The research also uncovered a notable preference for automated shopping among many consumers. The study showed that 41% of consumers would be willing to let an online retailer automatically buy and ship them basic household goods such as dish soap and cleaning products, while more than a fifth (21%) would let the retailer purchase their underwear for them.

This trend was particularly pronounced among younger consumers, who appear to prize convenience above all else. Almost 81% of the 25-34 year old cohort would be receptive to automated shopping (versus 61% of overall consumers).

"Automated shopping is an increasing trend among a large segment of the population who are looking to retailers to maximize convenience and minimize friction in their shopping experiences," Larsen noted. "Retailers need to be taking this lesson to heart across all their channels, exploring the data around consumer purchases and lifestyles and seeking ways to build out automated processes both online and in-store."