eCommerce how it works from after Covid: IBM study of 2022

eCommerce how it works: we bring you commentary from a study conducted by IBM on a sampler of more than 19,000 people regarding the eCommerce world and their habits as well as expectations. The results are very surprising, also because hybrid eCommerce is gaining momentum and, we are convinced, together with proximity eCommerce, will be the real challenge in the coming years especially for all small and medium-sized companies if they want to stay in the market and be able to compete with the advancing eCommerce giants. Differentiating will be the watchword, and hybrid eCommerce along with proximity eCommerce will be the tool.

Table of Contents

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eCommerce how it works: A new sales and purchase path for customers

For consumers and users, the past 2 years have represented the transition from one era to the next. The covid accelerated the processes that would occur over the next 10 to 20 years, leading each consumer to have to renew his or her approach to purchasing processes.
Of course, even for those who own a business, whether small or large, need new media (e commerce site) in order to stay in the market.
In the early moments, the rush to eCommerce was the sole focus of all players in the market, still finding out later that that step is only the beginning of different problems.
Everyone needed to find online what they used to buy directly in the store, and everyone except those unaccustomed to digital tools or lacking them, (we are talking about the elderly or incapacitated people who do not have too many financial resources) have experimented with online shopping in some way.
For many it was a first experience, while for others it simply intensified what was already a widespread practice.
What is certain is that two whole years of almost compulsory necessity represented a long period of adjustment for most people.
But now that the pandemic is fading, eCommerce (electronic commerce) is at a turning point, and let’s see why.
There are many reasons why people buy online. The most common reason is convenience. People like to shop online because it saves time. They can shop at any time of the day or night and do not have to leave the house. Some people buy online because it saves them money. Researching and even comparing prices is now an across-the-board practice for everyone, you generally do not have to pay shipping costs, and there is no hassle of driving to get to a store.
Many people also buy online because it gives them more choices. Others because they can quickly find what they want and can also discover special offers, coupons and sales.

In addition to these reasons, there are others. Online shopping allows people to shop while away from home. For example, if someone needs to buy something urgently, they can buy it online from the office or the beach. In addition, people who work from home can shop online without having to take breaks.
Today, however, that people can go out, and rediscover what they did until 2019 but in the meantime have experienced the ease of online shopping, two modes of online shopping are emerging:
1. The proximity eCommerce (proximity eCommerce)
2. Hybrid eCommerce (hybrid eCommerce)
Regarding point number 1, we have devoted a page to this very phenomenon, while now we would like to talk about the experience of hybrid e-commerce and how the sale of goods or services takes place.
When the buying process merges between online and offline, this is the process of hybridization.
Today it is possible to read up on the web, go to see products live, and then finalize the purchase online through the most suitable tool.
Just as it is possible to order groceries online and pick them up at the store at a certain time.
This is the hybrid e commerce.
By 2022, consumers no longer see online and offline shopping as separate and distinct experiences-everything is always connected.
Shopping should be simple, fast, experiential and intuitive. In addition, consumers are beginning to expect companies, and thus also those who do eCommerce and sell online, to meet their criteria for sustainable production, to meet social and environmental responsibility requirements.
We will discuss the latter point in a separate article, while now we want to go into the salient aspects related to hybrid e-Commerce.

eCommerce how it works: IBM's study of more than 19,100 customers

ecommerce come funziona

We studied in depth a research conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value.
This research is based on a 19,103 large person sample belonging to the following to multiple countries around the world as per the infographic, where all consumer groups were covered.
Responses were analyzed by age group, income, and purchasing habits among product categories including groceries, personal care and beauty, footwear and clothing, and household items.
Each person was placed in his or her “generation of belonging” as per the most current classifications namely:
Ø Baby Boomers those born from 1946 to 1964.
Ø Gen X those born from 1965 to 1979
Ø Millennials those born from 1980 to 1994
Ø Gen Z those born from 1995 to 2003

ecommerce come funziona lo studio ibm 1

eCommerce how it works: main purchasing statistics by category

We can say that the physical store is still the main type of shopping channel for consumers, although we need to differentiate between the various categories and, subsequently, the generations involved.
Yes, because depending on whether we are talking about Groceries or Household Items the cases differ quite a bit and also obviously depending on the age of the buyer.

PRINCIPALE TIPOLOGIA CANALE DI ACQUISTO PER CATEGORIA

As you can see from the infographic just above, the grocery side still plays 61.4 percent of its game directly in the physical store, although by contrast we can say that the remaining 39 percent given by pure online shopping and hybrid shopping are to date a very high % compared to the numbers we were registering just 5 years ago.
Food eCommerce is an industry where the direct buying experience combined with the trust placed in the store employees or owners still holds sway.
Hybrid e Commerce comes close to online-only in many categories.
In household items, for example, hybrid e Commerce surpasses direct online purchase by a lot, while at total, almost no difference is distinguished between direct online purchase or through hybrid channel (27% hybrid and 28% online).
One fact is that direct in-store purchasing today is already in the minority (45 percent), and as time goes on and more consumers and operators enter the online world, we will see what the subsequent changes will be.
Let us now go on to analyze the differences between the various age groups discussed above.

eCommerce how it works: main purchase statistics by age

Obviously with the lowering of the age group the % of direct purchase at the physical store decreases to the advantage of eCommerce, while the figure that should give pause for thought is that of Generation ‘Z’.
Younger people much prefer the hybrid channel over direct e Commerce, and the percentage of them using this channel type is about the same as those who buy directly from the store.
Again, this table suggests how it is essential to have one’s own online sales channel, but the hybrid shopping experience will grow the most over time.

PRINCIPALE TIPOLOGIA CANALE DI ACQUISTO PER ETA'

eCommerce how it works: use of digital tools

Let’s talk about digital touchpoints. What are they?
Digital touchpoints are nothing more than those touchpoints (not necessarily of the site or your online store) that facilitate the shopping experience in an innovative and/or digital way such as can be automated checkouts without the use of an operator, click and collect i.e., ordering one’s products through e commerce and then picking them up at the store or at a pre-determined pickup point, home delivery of products, and so on.
Faced with 6 types of touchpoints, there were only two alternatives available:
1) I have used it and will use it again-or.
2) I’ve never used it but would like to try.
Well, the figure we are facing is surprising and should give pause to all those who have a retail business and are not yet equipped with an online sales system.
A substantial % of respondents (more than 70%) have already used digital purchasing systems and say they will continue to do so, while all the small residual portion who have not, say they are ready to be able to do so.

UTILIZZO DEGLI STRUMENTI DIGITALI

When we then go on to read what are the motivations for going to the store we understand two other important suggestions:
1. In first place (50% of respondents) is the importance of trying or seeing products before buying them
2. They can be chosen directly
This means that selling online with e commerce platforms but having a store integrated into the strategy will be the most important purchasing channel along with proximity eCommerce, as customers are willing to see products directly and live before buying them.

ecommerce come funziona le ragioni per andare in negozio

eCommerce how it works: the customer's path to purchase also known as the customer journey, on the site and off

Apart from when we make purchases of which we already have our good knowledge, when we need something we also often have the need to find out how and why. Let’s give 3 examples:
1. I need an instrument to measure pressure but I do not know the minimum requirements to meet my needs.
2. I have joint pain due to a fall but I don’t know the remedy I can find to soothe it.
3. I need a new notebook and want to find the best feature/price solution on the market
In all three cases above, I will always start by acquiring the basic information I need in order to then decide how to adjust my purchase.
In case no. 1 having to figure out the requirements for the meter I will go and look for the variety of functions supported today and then perhaps orient myself when I have decided which ones for me are indispensable (for example, for me it was essential that the meter also measure potential cardiac fibrillation and that function I wanted at all costs obviously opting among the choices available regardless of price)
In case no. 2 I have to first understand whether it’s really joint pain or muscle pain, find the remedy that maybe I suppose is more suitable (they also gave me a good understanding of the symptomatology).
In the third example given, it is much simpler. I’m clear on the features I need, so I go targeted to search for the product through the much-loved price comparators.
In all 3 cases I set in motion a buying path consisting of 5 steps as from the next infographic.
1. Acquiring information about the product or service
2. Choosing the product or service to focus on.
3. Active search for the product or service
4. Choice of support to buy
5. Purchase
As we saw earlier, information is crucial before the product or service can be chosen.
Choice (point No. 2) is a mental process, in that the moment we have an awareness of what we need (in some cases what we want at all costs) we go on an active search for the product (point No. 3).
How will we purchase? This remains to be seen. Maybe I found the notebook online but I go to a store where I know it is available because I want to touch it with my hands, see if the pictures really do it justice.
Maybe I looked it up on IDEALO to find the best price and found it at UNIEURO, however, I have MediaWorld near my home and I decide to go see it.
Only when I have decided will I move on to the choice of support, which at that time is secondary unless I have a pressing need.
Several factors play the game at this time such as logistics, possible delivery costs, and the delivery time itself….
In the end, I will still choose the channel that is most supportive for me at that time (step No. 4) and finally complete the purchase (5).

ecommerce come funziona Il percorso di acquisto del cliente

As you see being able to offer a hybrid shopping experience is critical to providing your customer or potential customer with what you have seen them looking for.

But now let’s take a closer look at where people search for their information.

eCommerce how it works: how to inquire before buying

According to the IBM study conducted on 19,100 people (remember that a reliable sample is given as early as 5/10 thousand people), 7 tools are used:
1. The number one source of information is still digital and it is still the web with 42 percent, and when we say web we know that the lead is Google.
2. Then we find the physical store with 38 percent of preferences, while surprise to a certain extent…
3. In 3rd place we find marketplaces with 33%, which have now become the benchmark for searching for certain commodities (who of you still goes si Google to search for a household product when today you know Amazon has them all?). And marketplaces are Google’s first problem in terms of competition…
4. Then we find social media with 32%. This is a really surprising figure as we know that Facebook and co. are not an engine where we go to search for things… but if we needed a review 9 out of 10 are on YouTube which also returns results in its own SERPs (search results pages) and that changes everything.
5. Friends and relatives are still an important “reference” and in fact 29% of the consensus is for them.
6. 20% are the consensus for user/customer reviews that play the lead role
7. Finally, we find professional reviews, uncommon across all commodities, which bring home 10 percent
Everything is laid out in this infographic.

ecommerce come funziona come ci si informa prima di comprare 1

After we have informed ourselves and decided what to buy there is another stage of choice, and eCommerce is not the most obvious one.
As you will see from the next infographic, from the “research/learning” stage we move on to purchase, after reviewing the various channels available (unless there is a natural inclination toward a particular address).

1. 65% of people answered the physical store in the first place while in the next place we find…
2. With 50% the Mobile eCommerce APP so we now know that “traditional” eCommerce, which we find in the next position, has already been outperformed by its relative Mobile APP
3. traditional eCommerce with 42%.
4. Purchasing by direct call with 14%.
5. Purchasing through voice device activation, 11% and here it could activate either traditional e commerce, Google shopping or first of all its cousin Amazon
6. Social media in 6th place with 10%.
7. Interactive TV and other platforms 8 %.
8. Chat 6%

We specify that each person was asked for 3 responses relative to the user’s purchase path, therefore, the sum of all variables is obviously greater than 100%.

And here we come to the purchase:

ecommerce come funziona con quale mezzo si cerca lacquisto 1

eCommerce how it works: By what means do you finalize the purchase

The physical store is still in 1st place but with only 45% while eCommerce whether traditional or a Mobile eCommerce APP is in 2nd place with 28% and finally with 27% so in the race to overtake hybrid eCommerce.

The questions at this point are 3:

1. eCommerce yes or no?
2. eCommerce website or mobile eCommerce APP?
3. traditional eCommerce or hybrid eCommerce?

Answer No. 1
eCommerce absolutely yes. If there is anyone who still has doubts know that it represents one of the touchpoints with the consumer/customer that is now indispensable indeed, within 10 to 15 years and maybe less we will reach saturation, i.e., all the major activities will have their own e Commerce, but without forgetting the old commerce, integrating it. Which one? And we come to the next answer.

Answer No. 2
The statistics speak for themselves, and we are just getting started. Having a mobile e Commerce APP is critical for multiple reasons that we will go over in a moment. e Commerce can be an “of which,” as opposed to many eCommerce sites today that are instead being adapted to be an app. Maybe they are web apps from websites or actual repurposing. But one more thing is needed.

Answer No. 3
Hybrid ecommerce is the future. It is not a particular program but simply a junction of two mirroring but different activities. Having an e-commerce store and also a physical store means doing the same in two completely different ways.

We need multichannel, we need integration of everything we can to maximize our customer’s shopping experience.
This is why the JPA is essential and why making everything revolve around the JPA is indispensable.
Because the user needs both the “traditional” part-that is, the physical store-but also the ability to be able to order, if they want, online. Maybe only occasionally, only when the need arises. At the times he says, at the times he prefers. Potentially even in its downtime.

Having a mobile eCommerce APP means that it is every moment in his hands, and so he can go from Google for a search, from Facebook from a page to inquire, but then he can go directly to you … in your APP.
The same APP that must contain as many loyalty features as possible in order to provide them with a unique buying experience and support.

I hope you enjoyed this post on hybrid eCommerce and if you have any questions, book a consultation with one of our experts.

ecommerce come funziona - con quale mezzo si finalizza l'acquisto
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