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Kiwis have well and truly embraced internet shopping. According to recent Neilson online shopping data, New Zealanders shopping online ‘anytime, anyplace’ on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, increased significantly in the last year.

- 1.9 million New Zealanders are shopping online that’s 56 percent of the total population with 6% YOY growth

And the number of purchases made by each person is increasing at a rapid rate

-        Nearly half a million Kiwis each made 11 or more purchases on the internet last year, an increase of 58 percent in the last two years.

-        That’s $3.8 billion spend online in 2013 and an expected increase to $4.15 billion this year

-        $1.3b of that is spent on overseas websites (USA, UK and Australia most popular) – that’s about 34% which is 25% up on last year

-        And the use of mobile devices is not just about transactions, they are also playing a considerable role on the path to purchase. 

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- 655,000 Kiwis are shopping on their smartphones and so are 58% of tablet owners

Interestingly, showrooming, whether friendly or hostile, has shown a decline since 2013, dropping nearly 20 per cent on smartphones and nearly 10 per cent on tablets.

The good news continues for retailers with ‘webrooming’ – the opposite of showrooming, where online research drives instore purchase – is that it is occurring for nearly one in four smartphone and tablet shoppers.

Shoppers are using their smartphone and tablets for researching products, competitive price checking, finding store locations and shopping lists. Smartphones in particular are constant companions to shoppers on-the go either in-store or while travelling. 

Omni-channel shopping is becoming more mainstream, according to the latest GfK Futurebuy study. They found that the top activities for shopping online, regardless of device:

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At a time where three in four Kiwi’s have a smartphone and nearly half have a tablet, and one third are using them to perform shopping tasks, something as basic as having your website optimised for mobile is a necessity not a luxury.

Just this small sample of information demonstrates the need for retailers to think omni-channel and seamlessness in their execution. To be creating frictionless experiences.

To design a customer experience you need to be holistic. A great app doesn’t compensate for a poor customer service experience. Likewise a great communications campaign might drive shoppers to your website to be let down if the merchandise transparency isn’t there.

The age of putting a tablet instore and calling it an omni-channel strategy is over. Omni-channel touch points create a multitude of opportunities to connect with shoppers but they must be seamless and frictionless.

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Tesla – Westfield London

Shoppers want to feel special and in this price competitive environment they will pay a premium for the ability to customise or buy something slightly more unique.

Mass customisation of made to order products is feasible with new technologies and advanced efficiencies in logistics and manufacturing. 

This is a trend long followed by the auto industry, but it presented challenges at the point of decision.

Car shoppers have infinite possible variations in new cars, from engine specifications and wheel options to paint colour and internal inclusions.

A showroom can only carry a fraction of the full product range.

This means that shoppers must ‘imagine’ their final purchase while being expected to part with thousands of dollars.

One stand out brand using technology to best effect in the pursuit of the frictionless experience is Tesla.

Tesla - Standing Out Amid the Noise

Tesla is an American electric car company that bucks the traditional dealership model and instead sells its cars directly to customers.

 They gained widespread attention when they launched a full electric sports car in the US and the waiting lists for these cars internationally are huge.

Tesla think innovatively in every way and testament to this thinking, in June this year announced that they would not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who used their technology in good faith and they only have just over 50 showrooms across the US and Canada.

Interestingly there are now 6 states in the US with laws banning the direct sales of cars. Most recently Michigan (there isn’t even a storefront operating in that state) shut the door on Tesla’s approach as a defence mechanism to protect their territory, as opposed to getting innovative and connecting with shoppers on “their terms.”

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Tesla – Santa Fe, California

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Tesla – Santa Fe, California

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Customise on screen in store

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Customise on the Tesla Motors website

The following video demonstrates the different way Tesla is connecting with shoppers and brings to life the way they have carved a space to stand out amid the clutter. Innovative product, customisation and personalisation, direct engagement strategy and non-traditional store-front thinking.

Creating a new engagement strategy on the path to purchase and using cutting edge interactive technology, Tesla have created a platform for shoppers to engage with them seamlessly. Good old new fashion frictionless retailing.

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