Brands Win Customers by Noting Their Online Behaviors

In recent weeks we’ve entered a number of customer conversations about the future of the store.

However, we’ve yet to discuss the future of the brand and how a retail brand might redefine itself to win the shopper of the future.

Here’s the only thing you need to understand:

These days, the front door to the brand is found online.

Cross-Channel Influence on the Digital Shopper

Research over the past years into developed world shopper behavior shows that roughly two-thirds of Internet-connected shoppers begin their decision journeys online.


And this has enormous consequences for brick and mortar brands.

A recent survey of digital shopper behavior indicates that online ratings and reviews are the most important influence upon overall purchasing decisions; this preference was cited by 84 percent of respondents1, over friends and family (60 percent), store employees (22 percent), and all forms of advertising-marketing ranging from in-store display to social media.

In addition, such shoppers are more inclined to self-service and self-acquisition of product-price knowledge, and have ever-increasing expectations that life in the store should be similar to life on the Internet — faster, more convenient, with greater access to knowledge and limitless access to inventory.

The younger the shopper, the higher the digital influence in all forms just mentioned.

Which means a great deal when we pause for a moment and recognize that the nation’s largest demographic group, the always-connected millennials, has a purchasing power estimated to reach $2.5 trillion by 2020.2

The implications of these changes reach beyond the boundaries of the brick and mortar store. So how does the brand deliver its unique promise to customers in the new cross-channel reality? How, what, and where is decision-influencing content delivered across the eight screens of the new digital life?

The Brand-Customer Relationship Redefined

The big industry effort I strongly applaud is the enormous investment being made in omni-channel restructuring to get rid of the old e-commerce silos. This will lead to the merging of organizations, inventories, and critical repositories of customer and vendor data.

The hypothesis is that the future of retail lies in redefinition of the brand-shopper relationship. And that the path to that future — into which we’re investing both finances and our best minds — is all about deep, granular understanding of shopper behavior.

For more detail on our vision and plans, check back in this space. This is the fourth installment of a series on Retail & Tech. Click here to read Moving from Maintenance to Growth in Retail Technology, The Behavioral Shift Driving Change in the World of Retail, and Retailers Must Learn to Love the Digital Native.

Jon Stine
Global Director, Retail Sales

Intel Corporation

This is the third and most recent installment of the Tech in Retail series.

To view more posts within the series click here: Tech & Finance Series

1 Merkle-Intel Digital Shopper Behavior Survey, 2014.

2 US Census Bureau, 2014.

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Jon Stine

About Jon Stine

Global Director Retail Sales at Intel. Jon Stine leads Intel’s global sales and strategy for the retail, hospitality, and consumer goods industry sectors. His CV includes leadership of North American retail consulting practice for Cisco Systems, and a prior stint at Intel, where he founded the company’s sales and marketing focus on the retail industry. His perspective on technology’s value in the industry has been shaped by advisory and project engagements in the United States, across the European Union, and in India, Australia, and the People’s Republic of China, and from 15 years of executive sales and marketing experience in the U.S. apparel industry, working with the nation’s leading department and specialty stores. At Intel, his current areas of research and engagement include the future of the store in this new digital age; how and where retailers turn data into competitive advantage; the role of technology within the new cross-channel shopper journey, and, the critical business and IT capabilities that industry success will demand going forward.