33 Statistics Retail Marketers Need to Know in 2021

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33 Statistics Retail Marketers Need to Know in 2021

Many consumers shopping for retail products start their journey online, and usually with a search. Although retail marketers know that online shopping often ends with either an online purchase or an in-store visit and sale, many paths to purchase in retail also involve a consumer calling a store location or contact center. With brick-and-mortar shopping limited by COVID-19, the phone call has only become a more important part of the experience. Customers use the call channel to learn about safety precautions, ask questions about products, make purchases, arrange curbside pickup, and more.

To acquire more customers in 2021, retail marketers are optimizing their digital ads to drive more high-quality calls and personalizing the caller experience to increase call conversions.

The Retail Consumer Journey Often Begins Online

1. 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying. The overwhelming majority of retail consumers start their journey with online research (Source: GE Capital Retail Bank).

2. Consumers researching water heaters, auto parts, bicycles, and mattresses are the most likely to research products via search engine. In almost all retail verticals, the majority of shoppers start the research process with a search engine query (Source: LSA).

3. 77% of shoppers use a mobile device to search for products. The majority of these searches occur on mobile devices, since retail shoppers frequently research competitor products and pricing in-store (Source: Salsify).

Retail Marketers Are Spending More on Digital Ads to Acquire Customers

4. In 2021, US retailers will spend $35.48 billion on digital ads. This is a 25% projected increase from 2020, when many retailers pulled back spend due to COVID-19 (Source: eMarketer).

5. In 2021, retail marketers will spend $23.22 billion on mobile ads. This is a 26.9% projected increase from 2020. This will likely drive up call volumes to retailers — the most convenient way for these mobile searchers to engage with a businesses is often over the phone (Source: eMarketer).

6. The average cost for a retail lead is $34. With ad spend on the rise, retail marketers are paying more for each lead (Source: Integrated Marketing Association).

7. The average conversion rate for a retail lead is 3%. Despite paying more for leads, retailers are often failing to convert them to customers (Source: Marketing Insights).

But Retail Marketers Are Failing to Connect the Fragmented Consumer Journey

8. 73% of retail consumers use multiple channels to shop. To gain a unified consumer view, marketers must connect all of their channels (Source: Harvard Business Review).

9. 59% of shoppers use their mobile devices in-store to compare costs or research deals and coupons. Retailers need to optimize the mobile experience to deliver seamless omnichannel engagement (Source: HRC Retail Advisory).

10. 30.9% of retailers say they cannot track consumers across devices, and another 38.2% can only track some consumers some of the time. This makes it difficult for marketers to personalize experiences (Source: Internet Retailer).

11. 35% of marketers say poor data quality impacts their ability to target consumers with the right digital ads. To unify consumer experiences, marketers need to capture and integrate data across all their channels (Source: Forrester).

12. The opportunity cost of not being omnichannel is 10% in lost revenue. A failure to provide high-quality omnichannel experiences directly impacts ROI (Source: VendHQ).

13. The average engagement rate of campaigns using three or more channels was 18.96% across all channels, while single-channel campaigns earned only 5.4%. Omnichannel marketing is essential in today’s retail landscape (Source: Retail Dive).

14. 84% of consumers believe retailers should be doing more to integrate their online and offline channels. To address this concern, retail marketers need to gain visibility into all touchpoints — both online and offline (Source: RetailNext).

Retail Marketers Can’t Forget Phone Calls, Which Are Often a Critical Part of the Consumer Journey

15. Consumers running mobile searches are 39% more likely to call a business. Since the majority of shoppers run search engine queries on mobile devices, this represents a huge quantity of calls to retailers (Source: Google).

16. $119 is the mean price point at which retail customers are likely to call. Consumers usually call when shopping for more expensive retail goods, since these are considered purchases and often require a conversation with a live agent to clear up questions (Source: Google).

17. 37% of retail shoppers call directly from paid search ad call extensions. Call extensions are an effective tool for retailers to drive more calls to their locations or contact centers (Source: Google).

18. Consumers researching water heaters, windows, and farm equipment are the most likely to call retailers after performing a search. In many retail verticals, consumers transition directly from online searches to phone calls (Source: LSA).

19. Calls will influence $1 trillion in US consumer spending this year. In our mobile-first world, calls are often the most convenient way for customers to convert (Source: BIA/Kelsey).

20. Phone calls convert to revenue 10-15x more than web leads. Calls are the most valuable conversions retail marketers can drive. By tracking the calls driven by your retail ads, you can measure your full ROI and optimize accordingly (Source: BIA/Kelsey).

21. Callers convert 30% faster than web leads. Calls provide a more immediate return on your marketing investment (Source: Forrester).

22. Caller retention rate is 28% higher than web lead retention rate. Driving calls from retail marketing campaigns is also more profitable in the long-term — callers are more loyal than web leads (Source: Forrester).

23. 84% of marketers report phone calls having higher conversion rates with larger order value (AOV) compared to other forms of engagement. Phone calls are often the most valuable conversions for retail marketers (Source: Forrester).

24. 41% of organizations report having increased phone conversion rates by 25% or more in the past 12 months. Not only are consumers calling more due to COVID-19 — they’re also calling with higher intent to make a purchase. Both the volume and value of calls are increasing for many businesses due to COVID-19 (Source: Forrester).

25. 85% of marketers believe inbound calls and phone conversations are a key component of their organization’s digital-first strategy. Retail marketers plan to tap into phone call data to better understand their customers and inform their strategies (Source: Forrester).

Retail Marketers Who Connect and Personalize All Channels — Including Inbound Phone Calls — Drive the Best Results

26. 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. Expectations for the customer experience have never been higher — to acquire new customers, retailers need to meet them. This includes calls (Source: Salesforce).

27. 32% of consumers say phone calls are the most frustrating customer service channel. Simply fielding inbound phone calls isn’t enough — it’s important to have data on each caller so you can quickly and efficiently address their needs (Source: Aspect).

28. 65% of consumers have cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience. If you fail to provide frictionless caller experiences, it will cost you customers (Source: Digiday). 

29. 40% of consumers purchase more from retailers that provide a personalized shopping experience across channels. Improving the shopper experience will have a direct impact on your bottom line (Source: RetailNext).

30. Retail marketers who invest in personalization can realize upward of $20 in return for every dollar invested. There is an exponential return on the budget you invest in personalization (Source: The Relevancy Group & Liveclicker).

Conversation Intelligence Data from Phone Calls Helps Retail Marketers Deliver Better Personalization and Drive Revenue

31. 48% of marketers have provided or expect to provide enhanced customer experiences as a result of scaling conversation intelligence across the enterprise. With conversation intelligence data, retail marketers can enhance ad targeting, segment email campaigns, serve personalized website experiences, and more, based on the content of phone conversations (Source: Forrester).

32. 43% of marketers have improved or expect to improve customer acquisition and retention as a result of scaling conversation intelligence across the enterprise. When you tailor consumer experiences based on the content of their phone conversations, you better meet their needs and earn their loyalty (Source: Forrester).

33. Marketers who have scaled conversation intelligence across the enterprise have seen or expect to see improved analytics efficiency, increased business efficiency, improved employee productivity, and seamless integration with existing systems. Conversation intelligence allows retailers to get smarter insights into their consumers and make more informed decisions to drive efficiency (Source: Forrester).

So What Can Retail Marketers Do to Personalize Caller Experiences?

  • Make it easy for shoppers to call you. This includes using call extensions on Google shopping ads, making “call now” an action on web pages, and including a call option on online shopping carts.
  • Track calls from marketing source to sale. This will help you understand how your digital marketing is generating calls.
  • Personalize the caller experience. To convert callers, it’s important to provide a seamless experience that makes them feel valued and known.
  • Capture the common questions callers are asking on calls and address them in your online content to boost conversions.
  • Analyze conversations to measure what percentage of calls aren’t being answered at each location, if long on-hold times result in high call abandon rates, if the caller was a good lead, if they converted, and which agents or locations are best (and worst) at converting callers to customers. You can then make the appropriate adjustments to your marketing and coach your agents if necessary.
  • Integrate call data with your martech tools. In turn, you’ll gain a holistic view of the customer journey and allocate your budget more effectively.
  • Target past callers and lookalikes with the right ads. Your callers provide a wealth of targeting data you can use to more effectively acquire new customers and retarget qualified callers who failed to convert.
  • Optimize, analyze, repeat. Once you start generating more calls, it’s important to continually test and scale your processes, while correcting issues that hurt your ROI.

To learn more tips for driving and converting retail sales calls, check out our Ultimate Guide to Conversation Intelligence for Marketers.


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