The Future of Shopping – Insights From Sam Greenspan

Raydiant’s new series, the Future of Shopping, interviews experts and thought leaders with a goal of better understanding what organizations can do to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. 

The following is an interview we recently had with Sam Greenspan, Head of Content, Demand.io.

How has consumer shopping behavior evolved over the past 5 years?

Five years is a long time in shopping (especially the eCommerce world). The most significant change in shopping behavior we’ve seen is the rise in mobile shopping. Shoppers are now more comfortable making purchases from their phones and will continue to do so. Merchants have adapted as well, putting a greater focus on both responsive and/or mobile-first eCommerce website development and creating native shopping apps. Mobile lends itself to more frequent, smaller purchases. 

What are the top 3 trends shaping the ways consumers shop?

Improvements in mobile shopping is number one. It has become easier to shop on a phone and, as a result, it’s shaping eCommerce shopping. New innovations, like more one-click checkout options, will continue to make the mobile shopping process easier.

Number two is the rise of click-and-collect. Click-and-collect saw significant rises in the pandemic but has altered shopping behavior for good. Customers want the ability to buy something from a brick-and-mortar store and pick it up that day, giving them the convenience of online shopping paired with the immediacy (and zero shipping costs) of in-person shopping.

And number three is a growing desire to get away from Amazon and the other giant merchants and shop more niche/local/independent stores. There’s a growing emphasis on shopping a brand that matches your values, and people are often willing to pay a little more in order to do so.

What's the future of shopping?

The future of shopping is omnichannel. Customers will be able to buy from their favorite stores wherever they may be. That could include the store’s website. The store’s mobile app. Inside of email. At larger online marketplaces. Within social media. And, yes, even in-person (both for shopping and for click-and-collect/returns/customer service). The onus is on the merchants to go to their customers, not vice versa. This will continue to become increasingly important as the modern forms of digital advertising become even more untenable (they are already bordering on being too cost-ineffective) and it will be more important than ever to nurture and retain customers.

The future of shopping also will not include pulling out a credit card. The days of having to type in a 16-digit credit card number, expiration date, security code, and corresponding address each time you make a purchase are going to vanish. That’s a step of friction that benefits neither merchants nor customers and is already going away. Easy pay options, one-click checkouts, and buy now pay later services will make it as seamless to check out on every store as it is on some select stores (like Amazon) right now.

What are the 3 actionable steps an organization can take to prepare for the future?

Brands need to begin (or continue) to develop their omnichannel strategies. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business without an eCommerce site, it’s time to start one (and make sure it’s designed mobile-first). If you’re an eCommerce site without any physical presence, it’s time to figure out where you might be able to get some sort of retail footprint. It’s also crucial to prepare for changes in the advertising landscape now, which means taking steps to own your audience. An email list remains the most reliable way to reach customers and retain relationships at this point, but an active social media presence is important as well. And finally, an organization needs to regularly monitor eCommerce industry-wide trends as well as the trends amongst top competitors. The adoption of buy now, pay later services, for instance, happened slowly at first — then exploded to the point where now virtually all brands offer at least one option. Don’t be the last one to offer the next crucial thing.