New research from Salmat shows that consumers will be moving seamlessly between online and bricks-and-mortar stores during the End of Financial Year (EOFY) sales this year, demonstrating the need for retailers to adopt strong, hybrid online/offline marketing strategies. The data reveals two thirds of consumers (66%) will use online channels to research EOFY sales, but an equal number will also go in-store to buy (63%). To effectively reach consumers and shift stock, marketers must invest equally in online and offline marketing channels, and ensure their campaigns work in harmony across both.
Do you prefer to do your EOFY shopping online or in store?
|I prefer to browse and buy online||33%|
|I prefer to browse online, then buy in store||33%|
|I prefer to browse and buy in store||30%|
|I prefer to browse in store, then buy online||4%|
Comparing the top three channels that marketers invest in against the top channels consumers use to research their EOFY purchases, there is a clear gap in marketers’ understanding of customer behaviour. Earlier research by Salmat found the top three channels marketers invested in were websites (65%), email marketing (57%) and social media (44%). However, online and print catalogues are the two main channels consumers use (56% and 53% respectively) when researching purchases, ahead of retailers websites (45%). Social media is not a significant touchpoint, with only 18% of consumers planning to use it for EOFY research.
Comparing channels: Consumer preference VS Investment by marketers
|Consumer preferred channels for EOFY research||Marketers top channels for investment|
|Print catalogues||53%||Email Marketing||57%|
|Retail websites||45%||Social media||44%|
Dan Salter, Salmat’s Retail Business Consultant said, “Marketers need to constantly assess the channels they are investing in. Australians love catalogues, and they are highly effective for driving purchase behaviour. To make the most of peak sales periods such as the EOFY sales, retailers must have a good understanding of their customer’s journey and preferences to ensure they are delivering the right ad, at the right time, and on the right channel, to reach and convert more customers.”
While marketers are investing in websites and email offers – both proven to be influential in consumer EOFY research – there is a lack of investment in SEO (9.8%) and SEM (4.2%), which is essential for reaching consumer searching for products and stores online.
Marketers also need to be aware that Amazon’s arrival in Australia will change consumer behaviour. Already a quarter of consumers (24%) say they use marketplaces such as eBay “most” or “all of the time” and the trend is growing (+5% quarter-on-quarter). They also plan to purchase on marketplaces almost as much as in stores in the next 12 months (68% for physical stores, 52% for retailer websites, 60% for online marketplaces). However, more than a quarter of marketers (28%) see disruption coming in their sector in the next six months to two years.
“Marketers shouldn’t underestimate the growing influence of marketplaces. However, these businesses don’t need to be the competition. Indeed, marketers should embrace them as additional channels to index their products so more consumers can find them. But to achieve that, they first need to be more curious about the possibilities offered by search marketing,” Salter said.
Homewares and furniture are expected to be the most popular product categories for consumers this EOFY (40%), followed by consumer electronics, personal care and health and home appliances (all 39%).
Methodology for consumer research
The figures in this release are based on the ACRS Omnibus Tracker from May 2017. The ACRS Omnibus Tracker is a quarterly tracking study of consumers’ multichannel preferences and behaviour, based on a survey of 500 Australian shoppers
Methodology for retail marketer research
The figures in this release are based on a study conducted by SSI between December 5th 2016 and January 19th, 2017. The questionnaire was administered online, across 500 marketing decision makers.