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Walker Sands' 2014 Future of Retail Study demonstrates shift to cashless society, exposes need for retailers to update online, social strategies.
Chicago – November 19, 2013 – Consumers are moving towards a cashless society. According to the Walker Sands' 2014 Future of Retail Study, only 40 percent of consumers carry $20 or more in cash.
Walker Sands, a public relations and digital agency for technology companies and startups, releases the results of its 2014 Future of Retail Study, which reveals that although the majority of consumers aren't carrying much cash, mobile payment applications still aren't taking off. Only 8 percent are using passbook-like applications to make payments and track funds.
"Retailers must adapt to the cashless atmosphere consumers are demanding – online, through social and even while shopping in store," said Tory Patrick, account director and lead of the retail technology practice at Walker Sands. "There's much to be gained for retailers and technology companies through consistently evolving commerce strategies across channels, including the enhanced ability to attract and retain customers."
Better mobile strategies could change customers' behavior in store
While consumers aren't yet willing to adopt existing mobile payment applications, they want more convenient mobile experiences. In fact, 59 percent of consumers would be more likely to shop at a store offering the ability to self-checkout on a mobile device.
Mobile checkout could even drive frequent online shoppers back to the store – 66 percent of those who shop online more than twice per week would be more inclined to shop at a brick-and-mortar store offering mobile checkout.
"Consumers are looking for convenience, no matter the channel. Successful applications in other industries that allow consumers to pay directly through their device, such as Uber, have already seen the value of this investment," added Patrick.
E-commerce has matured, but consumers want more
Despite enormous progress in online retail strategies, 40 percent of consumers still want a more interactive experience. Consumers surveyed stated the following would be included in an excellent retail website:
"Although consumers want experiences that allow for online and mobile transactions, the majority are still looking for a brand that provides excellent customer service," added Patrick. "This gives retailers an opportunity to further differentiate themselves from their competitors."
The benefits of social commerce
Customers are already engaging with brands online, just not where most of the brands are focusing their marketing strategies. Nearly six in 10 report interacting with brands on social media, with Pinterest continuing to grow in influence.
Three in 10 frequent online shoppers – purchasing online more than twice per week – use Pinterest to discover new products.
"Consumers are increasingly looking to discover and even purchase products through social commerce and are looking to social sites for direct brand engagement," added Patrick. "Social provides an excellent channel for building customer relationships and brand loyalty – a rarity in today's market. It also gives retailers an open, and often unused, door to attract new customers through visual imagery and deals."
To view the full results of the 2014 Future of Retail Study, visit /futureofretail.
The Walker Sands' 2014 Future of Retail Study Methodology
The Walker Sands' 2014 Future of Retail Study surveyed 1,046 consumers across the United States on their spending behaviors in the past year and preferences for future spending. The survey analyzed consumer behavior and preferences for making purchases online and in store with mobile devices and other technology. Responses were broken down by demographics, including income and gender, among other factors.
Walker Sands works with a variety of retail technology companies. Similar research is often assembled for these clients through the Walker Sands analytics team.
View Top Retail Trends for 2015 here.
About Walker Sands
Walker Sands is a full-service marketing and public relations firm specializing in media relations for technology companies ranging from startups to enterprise level. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, Walker Sands was founded in 2001 to provide data-driven marketing support for a wide array of companies with the business mission of providing best-in-class communications counsel and services. In 2013, Walker Sands has received recognition for client work from the PRSA Skylines, Hermes, PCC and PR Daily awards, among others. To learn more, visit the Walker Sands website.