Shoppers’ attention and discretionary spending are being pulled in multiple directions, meaning retail strategy has to evolve, according to new research into shopping habits in Singapore and Australia.

For the Real Retail Story report, mobile location and advertising solutions company Blis interviewed 5939 consumers across seven markets, including 805 from Australia and 453 from Singapore.

This found that many shoppers in these two markets engage in both showrooming and webrooming, sometimes simultaneously.

In Singapore, for example, two thirds (67%) of those surveyed had searched for items on shopping websites but made the final purchase in-store. The main reason for doing so was to see the quality of the product before buying (56%).

On the flip side, 63% had looked for items in-store before purchasing them online. The biggest reason for doing so is that they can ‘sometimes get better deals’ (54%).

And four fifths had used their mobile phones when shopping in a physical store, mostly for price comparison purposes (72%) and reading other customers’ product reviews (51%).

This sort of behaviour demonstrates how retail has to evolve as consumer preferences shift, said Richard Andrew, Asia MD for Blis; the physical store is merely one touchpoint among many in the consumer journey.

A similar picture was evident in Australia, where 43% of respondents admitted to showrooming, and 63% to webrooming.

A further 59% of respondents said they actively use their mobiles while shopping in-store, again mostly to compare prices on the best deals (74%); around a third were checking online for a discount voucher (35%), reading reviews (34%) or asking friends and family for opinions on their potential purchase (30%).

Nick Ballard, MD at Blis Australia and New Zealand, highlighted how the online experience has changed the way Australians view shopping.

“Shopping online just doesn’t have that same hands-on experience but despite this affection for the visceral and tactile joy of shopping at physical stores, technology and e-commerce have conditioned Australian consumers with new habits and expectations,” he said.

“Consumers do not see a delineation between online and offline shopping, rather the modern consumer journey fuses both worlds and it is imperative that brands and retailers do the same,” he added.

Sourced from Blis; additional content by WARC staff