The Future of Shopping: connected, virtual and augmented

Research of consumers in France, Germany, the UK and the US reveals rising expectations for fast, frictionless, ‘blended’ cross-channel shopping experiences that deliver elevated levels of convenience, interaction and ease.

Today’s consumers don’t differentiate between retail channels. They’ll jump between mobile, online and in-store shopping channels to curate each individual purchasing journey according to their needs. For them, shopping is all about ease, immediacy and instant gratification of needs.

For these empowered multichannel shoppers, convenience conquers all. Whether that’s finding quicker and easier ways to receive goods purchased, fast and expedient checkout and payment processes or just-in-time access to the information they seek.

With consumers switching between shopping channels on a whim, retailers will need to position themselves at the intersection of physical and digital realities to deliver elevated levels of interaction and value-add.

Indeed, as our research shows, the lines between online and offline channels are becoming increasingly blurred.

With customer expectations for state-of the-art ‘blended’ shopping experiences that are relevant, compelling and personally curated on the up, Periscope by McKinsey conducted research1 with consumers in France, Germany, the UK and the US to understand their current cross-channel preferences and future shopping intentions.

The research findings provide insights on:

  • The current state of play: do consumers shop primarily in-store, online, or both and in which categories
  • What contributes to a good shopping experience — from delivery and frictionless payment preferences
  • Which in-store virtual/augmented applications resonate most strongly with consumers
  • Consumer privacy, digital surveillance and security concerns
  • Whether channel shopping preferences are impacted by age, gender or location (rural vs. metropolitan)

Key Finding: Consumers Take a Resolutely Multichannel Approach

Multichannel is the new norm – mostly

Asked about their overall shopping behavior, 60% or more of consumers in Germany, the UK and the US say they engage equally with online and offline shopping channels. In France, offline shopping still retains a strong appeal for consumers; while 35% of French respondents take a multichannel approach when shopping, 44% say they primarily or only shop in-store.

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