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BigCommerce's '2018 Omnichannel Buying Report', which examines survey responses of nearly 3,000 digital consumers to understand the role that online and offline channels play in customers' purchase journey, has found that convenience, selection and data privacy are top of mind for digital shoppers - and this further illustrates the global impact of Amazon's marketplace, which more than 80% of respondents have purchased from in the past six months, as opposed to 65% who have purchased from a physical retail store. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

According to the study, one of every three dollars of monthly discretionary income is now spent online, but the relationship between online and offline channels is far more nuanced. Thirty-nine percent of consumer respondents visited a brand's website before making a purchase in a physical retail store, and 33% will attempt to price match the product online.

"The retail industry has been throwing around the term 'omnichannel' for years and while we've seen a handful of strong use cases, merchants are still struggling to create a true cross-channel experience that addresses the evolving behavior of their consumers," said Jimmy Duvall, chief product officer at BigCommerce.

The results of the study emphasize that brands can no longer afford a single-channel retail experience and increasingly must make products available across multiple digital and offline channels where consumers are shopping. Key global findings from the report include:

  • The "Amazon Effect" is increasing in ecommerce. Four out of five consumers made a purchase on Amazon in the last six months, compared to only 65% that bought something in a physical store. Even more telling of Amazon's impact in the retail ecosystem is the influence Amazon Prime's fast and free shipping promise has had on ecommerce behavior. Eighteen percent of global respondents cite shipping costs as their least favorite aspect of online shopping, with another 15% of respondents citing waiting for the product to arrive.
  • The ability to convey value overcomes pricing hurdles. Respondents no longer see price as the primary reason to shop on Amazon, with 28% of consumers preferring the site's convenience to its low prices. In addition, brands are doing a better job of using product imagery, descriptions, and customer reviews to convey a product's value, which is encouraging customers to make more purchases on the brand's website even if the product is available for less somewhere else.
  • Data privacy remains a major concern - but not at the expense of convenience. Today's consumers expect data collection to be part of their online shopping experience. Seventy percent of consumers would opt out of having their data collected if given the option, but Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z consumers indicated a willingness to share data with retailers if provided free shipping or product discounts in exchange.
  • Returns may help bridge gap between online and in-store. Businesses that have a physical store as well as an online one should look to product returns as a sales opportunity. More than half of shoppers expect to return approximately 25% of online purchases. While 50% of returns are sent via mail, 67% of consumers that choose to return in store also browse or shop in the store afterwards, illustrating the value of bricks-and-mortar retail stores in an omnichannel world.
  • Available payment options matter. Thirty-six percent of global respondents admitted to buying a more expensive option when offered financing at checkout, and another 33% confirmed that, without financing, they would not have made the purchase.

To view the full report on global omnichannel shopping habits: