British shoppers are taking control of the omnichannel shopping environment, according to John Lewis’ third annual ‘Retail Report - How We Shop, Live and Look’, due to their ultra-flexible and ultra-confident approach to shopping.
The department store is calling 2015 the year of the ‘Master Shopper,’ identifying that shoppers now use a combination of many research, browsing, purchase and collection methods to create a bespoke shopping experience - to ensure “they get what they want, in the way that they want it”.
The ‘Master Shopper’ it claims moves “seamlessly” between their phone, tablet or PC, store or call centre to zero in on their purchase. Evidence of this is in the traffic to johnlewis.com from mobiles, which has increased to 60 percent and mobile revenue by 68 percent in the last twelve months. It also reveals that two-thirds of John Lewis customers are using both physical shops and online channels, and the number who bought from both channels has increased by 9 percent in the last year.
“2015 will become known as the year the master shopper came of age,” said John Lewis managing dDirector, Andy Street. “Shoppers are now more enabled and more in control than ever. It's an exciting time in retail history with John Lewis well-positioned to lead the revolution in providing the services the master shopper needs.”
John Lewis has also revealed that an element of “pleasure, inspiration and surprise” has returned to the art of shopping, with the ‘Master Shopper’ needing to touch, taste and try before they buy, and while shops still serve a 'need it, buy it' purpose, they are increasingly being linked to leisure time.
Whilst shoppers are mapping out their purchasing journeys, products themselves attract different shopping behaviours, the retailer has revealed, with customers for instance interacting with John Lewis around four times enroute to a purchase for menswear. A shop visit makes up two of those interactions, indicating that when shopping for clothes, men want a no-nonsense trip where they can visit a shop, speak to a member of staff and take their new suit home that day.
Social shopping on the increase, finds John Lewis
The influence of social media has also seen an increase in social shopping, with John Lewis stating that social media is being used for inspiration on what to buy, as well engaging with friends on their key purchase, and researching it on the John Lewis website.
The department store states this new form of shopping has fuelled significant growth in the retailer’s social platforms, since last year its Instagram channel has grown by 338 percent, with Pinterest and Twitter also growing by 68 percent each. However, Facebook still remains the most popular, with almost one million followers to date.
Street added: “Our shops are changing to become more inspirational and multi-purpose than ever before. We're helping facilitate our customers' ability to shop anytime, and anywhere, and to make their user journey the most flexible it has ever been. Shopping today is less about 'I need it now' and more about 'I need it flexibly, when I want’."
According to the report, images shared via social networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are now more influential than celebrities and models on the catwalk, which were previously the main inspiration for style.
The increase in social shopping also saw womenswear sales via mobile increase by 86 percent, compared with the previous year, which John Lewis states is further evidence of a more impulsive ‘want it now’ approach to shopping.
When it came to what women bought the jumpsuit was a standout success with an increase of 79 percent in sales of John Lewis own brand, as was denim, anything blue, as well as loungewear with sales of luxury cashmere wraps increased 100 percent year-on-year.
The report also highlighted key moments that shaped what customers bought, with the Oscars increasing sales on non-black suits after actor Eddie Redmayne opted for blue rather than black. Non-black suit sales were up 10 percent year-on-year following the event. Black Friday also saw the highest volume of sales in shops and online, with ladies premium handbags making up 25 percent of their entire year’s takings on that day alone.
Images: John Lewis