The results of the 2016 Osservatorio Multicanalità (Multichannel Monitoring Centre) research project organised by Nielsen, the School of Management at Milan Polytechnic and Connexia have been published.
The Shopping (R)evolution Conference, which is now in its ninth year, revealed that many aspects have continued on from last year and match the 2015 results, but it also produced some fascinating ideas for the future of companies that implement and capitalise on the opportunities offered by the digital and multichannel worlds.
The first confirmation: multichannelling is no longer new to Italian consumers as they are now used to using multiple devices to connect with brands and companies. They are much savvier and more demanding than in the past and use smartphones in particular to access the internet (63% of internet users) and shop.
New this year was the introduction of new clusters that did not appear in the 2015 results.
InfoShoppers and eShoppers make up the first segment of new consumers: 11 million Italians are InfoShoppers who love looking up products and brands online to get the lowdown but are reluctant to finalise the purchase online; 20.5 million Italians are eShoppers who use the internet for finding information as well as making purchases.
The eShoppers have been divided into four groups of consumers that are classified according to two variables: those who are more or less likely to use digital channels when making a purchase, and the likelihood of using the internet to provide or share feedback.
These consumers are Everywhere Shoppers (5.5 million people); they are mainly Generation Xers and Millennials and part of the group that best understands multichannel dynamics and uses digital touchpoints anywhere and at any time to compare prices, keep up to date with the latest online offers, and provide or check feedback about products and companies.
The second category is the Money Savers (5.2 million people), who are great planners with the primary goal of saving money. This group is also made up of Generation Xers and Millennials; they like to use online price comparison tools, check digital flyers and leaflets, share feedback on social networks and they do all this on their smartphones.
Next up are the Cherry Pickers (5.1 million people): they are creatures of habit and love traditional methods. Unlike Everywhere Shoppers, they do not own state-of-the-art high-tech products and are predominantly Generation Xers, Baby Boomers and Millennials.
A large number of Cherry Pickers are women. When they want information they turn to traditional sources and the classic store, where they prefer the personal touch of talking to shop assistants. They also prefer to see and touch the products before buying anything. The possibility of buying items online that are not available through traditional channels appeals to them, and they will use specialist ecommerce platforms where they can find exactly what they are looking for.
The last group is the Pragmatics (4.7 million people), who have several things in common with the Money Savers: they are logical Generation Xers, Millennials and Baby Boomers who like to plan and use the internet because it is guaranteed to save them a considerable amount of time. When making a purchase, they love speedy transactions and buy online when the internet can help them to save time and access a service in out-of-hours periods when it is not available through traditional sales channels.
They think that ecommerce platforms and online generalist shops which guarantee excellent efficiency and usability are particularly handy.
Shopping (R)evolution also carried out a four-pronged assessment of the situation concerning how Italian companies approach multichannel retailing:
- their ability to collect their customers’ data on some or all of the touchpoints;
- the methods used to plan and implement communication initiatives on multiple channels;
- their ability to track the customer journey of consumers;
- their ability to convey a seamless experience to customers.
There is also change in the air for the classic store. Today’s consumers no longer see it purely as a simple touchpoint for direct sales: they also think that it is a place where they can get information and additional services, and the best environment for connecting with the brand.
So the store is now hyper-connected and offers customers immediate and personalised promotions, self-service cash registers, rapid checks for verifying product availability, guaranteed in-store Wi-Fi and sales assistants that can accept mobile payments so customers do not have to go through a cash register.
The complete minutes of the Shopping (R)evolution Conference can be downloaded for free at http://multicanalita.it/atti-del-conference-shopping-revolution/.