When it comes to online shopping, stores are open all hours – and consumers are taking full advantage. Saturday afternoon has traditionally held
the top spot for peak spending, but it seems the times are changing, with many consumers embracing a new trend of ‘bedtime browsing’ instead.
According to research undertaken by the UK department store, John Lewis, 1 in 15 purchases are now made between midnight and 6am following a 23 percent increase year-on-year. For consumers, it reflects their requirements for flexibility and customer service that fits around them. For kitchen retailers, it represents a challenge to adapt their strategies, and ensure the solutions are in place to engage with customers at the right time to make a purchase – day and night.
The rise of the ‘nocturnal shopper’
The ‘vampire economy’ is a growing opportunity that retailers can act upon early for big returns. It has formed as a result of the high adoption of internet enabled smartphones, an increased appetite for instant gratification when buying, and a heightened expectation of convenience underpinned by e-tailers offers of 24×7 customer support and same day delivery. Consumers now want products on demand and are no longer willing, nor do they have time, to be restricted to the standard 9-5 opening hours often associated with bricks and mortar stores.
Late-night shopping at bricks and mortar stores or shopping centers might push closing times back to 9pm, but these timings run much later for online shoppers. According to research undertaken by Barclays, consumers in the UK spend on average 2 hours and 12 minutes browsing after 10pm, which reduces to 1 hour 30 minutes during summer months, suggesting seasonality also plays a part in the different buying habits recorded.
Kitchen retailers looking to capitalize on the ‘vampire economy’ will need to provide their customers with online solutions that extend the physical storefront with 24×7 access, offering engaging customer experiences that support customer autonomy wherever possible.
How evolving consumer buying habits will affect kitchen retailers
With the wealth of information available online, kitchen retail customers are able to carry out comprehensive research and planning without even needing to step in a store. This can be utilized to reduce the sales cycle once a customer does book a consultation, and reshape conversations with sales staff. Time once spent qualifying customers can instead be reallocated to offering valuable installation advice or design validation, completing sales and upsell services.
Research from the United States Ecommerce Country Report reported that 88 percent of consumers carry out online research before making a purchase either online or in-store, demonstrating the importance of placing the right tools and information at customers’ fingertips. In order to support 24×7 browsing and shopping habits, kitchen retail websites need to be as intuitive as possible, guiding the customer through the purchase cycle through the planning and design stages to the end goal of making a purchase and installing a beautiful new kitchen.
Providing enhanced customer experiences 24×7 through 3D planning solutions
By incorporating a 3D planning solution such as HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers into their retail strategies, kitchen retailers can give their customers 24×7 access to key functionality via a cloud-based platform that supports autonomous purchases.
With in-built automated business rules, accuracy remains key to the kitchen design process, guiding customers at every step of the way to a sales-ready kitchen design. The ability to generate hyper-realistic 3D renders means that customers can share design ideas with peers, bring in store to validate with a sales professional or alternatively purchase online directly, increasing their autonomy throughout the sales journey.
Users also benefit from access to extensive product back-catalogs with live pricing updates for a full range of options to choose from and full transparency over project costs. Buyers lacking inspiration can specify their exact kitchen dimensions and room shape, generating tailored product set recommendations that can be used as templated designs or incorporated into an existing layout, aiding the customer’s experience.
3D planning solutions serve as an excellent customer aid during the purchase process, delivering value to the kitchen planning experience, whether 10am or 10pm. Retailers that can utilize this technology can expect to reap the benefits of the additional revenue generated from customers after dark, showing that it pays to keep up with the times!