Lines between online and offline shopping behaviours are blurring for urban shoppers in India, according to a new study conducted by Google and Ipsos.

Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director, Sales, Google India, noted that, “with over 460 million Indians online, on-the-go search is now an established habit with shoppers on a constant look out for information to satiate their need to make an informed decision before buying a product – even when they are in a store.”

“While online shopping users were considered as more digitally savvy, the report reveals that urban offline shoppers are equally adept and engage with digital touch points throughout their purchase journey,” he added, in remarks reported by Exchange4Media.

The report sought to decode the influence of digital across the different stages of an urban offline shopper’s journey. It outlined four distinct stages – trigger, pre-purchase, in-store, and post-purchase – with all four stages seeing interaction with online platforms.

In the pre-purchase phase, the internet is now established as a natural go-to place for any kind of information need. The report found that 55% of urban offline shoppers turn to digital in the case of home decor or baby care and 62% in the case of men’s apparel. And this behaviour is now also consistent for offline shoppers, even for smaller value product categories – a distinct shift from the research-online-and-buy-offline behaviour that was seen for high value product categories just a few years ago.

The in-store purchase phase is an extension of the exploration during the pre-purchase phase. The report found that in-store cues have an impact on offline purchase decisions, but shoppers continue to compare prices, explore discounts and promotional offers for their chosen product via online touch points while in-store.

The internet is also leveraged to gain further information or validation for new inputs received at the store, with 40% of urban Indian shoppers looking up information while in the store making a purchase.

When considering triggers and post-purchase behaviour, the report revealed that engagement with online touchpoints does not cease even after the purchase has been made. One in every three shoppers continues to engage with the category online after the purchase, by posting pictures, for example, or sharing reviews on social media. Another interesting category which is on the rise is ‘How to Use’ for the recently purchased products.

The study titled ‘Shopper Path-2-Purchase’ compiled by Ipsos after speaking to 6,600 recent shoppers covering four Metro and four non-Metro cities. Questions covered seven different product categories, including accessories, skin care, baby care, make up, home decor and computers. 

Sourced from Economic Times, Exchange4Media; additional content by WARC staff