Gone are those days when shopping was looked down as a fad for materialistic desires. ‘Boring’, ‘cynical’, shopaholic’ – all these epithets defined it.

However, the present scenario sings a different song!

Shopping has become a passion amongst people in the 21st century. Not only for women (as the patriarchs would say) but for men as well!

A large part of transforming shopping into a worldwide ‘habit’ can be credited to the unmitigated boom in digitization. The internet has made it easier for us, the consumers, to buy literally anything with one single CLICK.

Although many find trying out products by visiting a store, online shopping brings a level of convenience that conventional purchase simply cannot beat.

Nielson Company once conducted a survey back in March 2010 on 27,000 web users across the 55 markets in Asia Pacific, Middle East, North and South America and Europe. It illustrated how consumers shopped online, what they bought, and how they searched through several sites. The study found that there are certain ‘universal’ products bought online. Moreover, it also portrayed how social media posts and online reviews gave a product a ‘global image’.

  • Mobile-friendly websites
  • Free shipping offers
  • One-day delivery choice
  • Diversified product range

These are the highlighters of global shopping. One can define this genre of shopping to be a ‘borderless purchasing discourse’ that proves relaxed and convenient. Global customers look for seamless integration between offline and online shopping ventures. Retailers who wish to increase their spend and customer loyalty within this omnichannel target hub shall have to imbibe a comprehensive method for meeting their needs across every touch point of the sale process.


What is Global Shopping?

Traversing beyond the typical demographic-oriented segmentation of customers, retailers (online/offline) are aiming to group them as per their shopping habits, preferences and brands they follow.

Global shopping is a cross-cultural event. Shoppers of diverse ethnicities are favouring premium products that do not belong to their convention. Purchasing products online or offline from an international brand is what global shoppers do.

  1. 45% of global customers shop for foreign products online from the e-retailers of their home country.
  2. 24% of them purchase from global e-retailers.
  3. People from developing countries such as Turkey (66%), India (72%) and Indonesia (58%) shop online ‘locally’ for global products.
  4. Online consumers shall grow to a whopping 1.623 billion by 2020 as per the United Nations Conference held on Trade & Development.
  5. New e-commerce platforms have made it easier for consumers to engage in online shopping. Global, as well as local e-commerce platforms, are being tailored for local markets to account for payments, currencies, languages and shopping preferences.
  6. Cross border purchases are expected to hit $1 trillion in 2020, thanks to the rapid expansion of e-commerce networks across the world.
  7. 67% of global shoppers buy from foreign websites as their prices are a bit lower in comparison to their home country.

Some of the top products that global shoppers buy:

  • Clothing and accessories (31%)
  • Video games, books and media (22%)
  • Toys (15%)
  • Beauty products (14%)
  • Electronic gadgets (16%)

Global shoppers harbour a different mind-set when on their shopping spree. Their perception regarding certain categories of products is that while they are willing to pay a premium charge for online items, a part of them still prefer to buy products from physical stores. 15% of global shoppers buy products from overseas physical retail stores. For example, customers in Croatia, Serbia and Hong Kong purchase products from international stores.

So, we can say that though the majority of global shopping is preferred in the online mode, there still lies a portion of consumers who opt for actual stores.


Shopper marketing – What is it?

Stores are setting a carefully refined shopping platform for shoppers. These have been designed to kindle a customer’s mind, so that s/he buys products. Many stores are creating a relaxing environment so that a serene ambience sets the mood for shopping.

Focusing upon the customer at the point of his/her purchase, shopper marketing tries to create a last minute appeal to him/her. It strives to create an immediate impact so that it can directly influence customer behaviour.

A few marketing stimuli which it implements are:

Product – Size, packaging, colour and language

Price – Coupon dispensers, personal check-out coupons and circular advertisements.

Place – Music, display, lighting and ads.

Promotion – Floor ads, shelf signs, cart ads, sampling demo and in-store TVs.

This last minute appeal to the customer takes on many forms. For example, grocery stores offer free samples so that they can weigh in with the customer’s appetite and incite him/her to buy the product. Another example would be the high-end stores. They use space, light and music to put the consumers at ease.

Shopper marketing often faces challenges in the form of short attention span of consumers and their easy accessibility to e-commerce platforms. Brands can outdo these challenges by creating broader campaigns for driving stronger sales.


Key ways in which they can enhance their shopper marketing efforts

  1. Synchronizing brand advertising with shopper marketing

Customers expect a brand to tell its story via advertising and marketing campaigns. Thus, a brand must have the ability to craft a product narrative through effective communication channels. It has to go through every touch point that spans across both brand advertising as well as shopper marketing.

  1. Personalize customer opportunities

Within the fragmented digital media landscape, marketing needs to ensure that the right customer is targeted and sent relevant messages. Personalization in effective marketing gets most frequently accomplished with the help of digital strategies. However, this does not mean that in-store shopper marketing shall lose its power of driving customer sales. They can initiate loyalty customer cards.

In the use of omnichannel capabilities, enhanced click and collect services also create a deeper personalization impact at online purchase points.

  1. Measuring effectiveness to optimize shopper marketing efforts:

You need to measure the impact of efforts in shopper marketing so that you can optimize your strategies. This shall also help you comprehend a marginal benefit. Shopper marketing efforts can be measured in relation to your brand’s advertising so that you ensure the compounding effect of portraying a strong brand story.

Some examples of shopper marketing are as follows:

Wal-Mart – This global brand sells more cold medicines than any other retail house in the world. They had discovered that when people are sick, they prefer not to navigate a huge store for buying medicine. Therefore, they have worked with manufacturers to create in-store ads which encourage customers to ‘stock up’ their medicines before the flu hits.

Cravendale Milk – This is a UK dairy retail brand which came with the slogan: “Tastes so good that the cows want it back”. Customers entering the store saw ads crafted to look as ransom notes featuring this slogan. These ads appeared at the storefront and also in their dairy aisle.

While the battle goes on between actual stores and e-commerce platforms, shoppers portray a steady inclination towards online purchases. Retail stores are now striving towards striking a balance between the two modes of shopping by being accessible both online and offline.


Some trends in global shopping you need to know

  1. Global shoppers have become experts

Consumers today have become wise, owing to the abundant sources available to them. Previews, social media posts and video tutorials have changed the dynamics between a retailer and a consumer. Retailers are constantly innovating and streamlining their offerings, adding newer aesthetic appeals to them. Global shopping thrives on word of mouth!

  1. Becoming self-sufficient

Information regarding a product is only a few clicks away. Customers feel that they no longer need to consult a professional for making a purchasing decision. They are cutting the intermediaries of shopping. As a result, brands are offering personalized product services which suit their customers’ preferences.

  1. Content marketing

Personalization has given brands a chance to get ahead of the market competition. On the other hand, content marketing became an integral part of online sellers. This is because they have to curate new contents on a regular basis to stay at the top of search engine ladders. Many online sites offer think look books, online fashion blogs and editorial content having useful product usage tips.

  1. Videos on product page

Excellent photography, qualitative descriptions, quantitative specifications and social media shareability define the product details page of online websites. Product videos appear frequently, and research states that 32% of online sites include demonstration videos on majority of their products.

  1. Faster delivery opportunities

Global shoppers prefer one day or two-day deliveries. Many of them are also offered free deliveries. For example, Amazon provides a 1-hour delivery in New York and a free 2-day delivery in other parts of the United States. Such fast delivery options have made global shopping utterly delightful.

  1. Integration of omnichannel

Global shopping has made retailers sell from both actual stores and online. In fact, as per market statistics, 65% of the best performing websites have emerged as brick and click businesses. Some of these brands are Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Target. The stores are now integrating online as well as in-store shopping experiences. These include click and collect or reserve and collect choices. They also show in-store availability and offer mobile services. Omnichannel selling aids e-commerce retailers in showcasing their merchandises in the physical world.

  1. Social influencers on rise

Brands are also turning towards social influencers. Influencers can be used for kick-starting authentic content curation for the user hub who are loyal to the brand. Social influencers are rising as more and more tech providers and other brands choose them for spreading the ‘word’ in market.


The seamless shopping season…

Global shopping has instilled an effortless ‘save and add to cart’ functionality. More retailers are now embracing omnichannel marketing strategies. It is becoming essential for them to remove friction on the ‘add to cart’ procedure and streamline the “save for later” options.

A new phenomenon that has engulfed the global shopping paradigm is voice search. 20% of Google searches are now being made utilising voice search, and over the past 4 to 5 years, voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and others have emerged as ubiquitous ways. 40% of the millennials take the help of voice search assistants like Siri.

Global shoppers look for a frictionless shopping experience.

Immediacy, thus, has become an important aspect for retailers. Providing a seamless buying session makes these shoppers like the brand in true sense.

One can call global shopping as a social kind of experience too. The power of ‘social media’ can be seen in the numbers. For example, in 2017, almost a billion active users of Instagram became buyers for brands that posted regularly on this social media channel.

Brands are now aiming to build loyalty and enhance their retention capacities. They are joining through conversations with the customers. Finding the sweet spot where commerce and content shall collide, brands are crafting a diversified marketing landscape that shall help the customers purchase through social proofing.

What we see today is an influx of global shoppers across the entire digital arena.

Cross-cultural shopping interactions where customers get to buy premium products are what give this experience a global appeal.