Consulting firm BRP found in a recent consumer survey that 89% of consumers browse merchandise online and 81% purchase merchandise online at least once per month.

BRP works with many retail sectors, so the findings of the survey provide insight into how people shop in general, not just how they shop for groceries.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said they shopped and reviewed products online and then made their purchase in a store, according to the report.

“Today’s consumer is always connected and always on,” BRP wrote in its report. “The advent of e-commerce has elevated consumers’ expectations of the shopping experience, and retailers must now provide service anytime, anywhere and any way the customer wants it, or the customer will move on to the competition.”

Along with surveying shoppers, BRP also reached out to retailers to ask what features their websites have to help shoppers research, review and buy products.

The most popular offerings include frequently asked questions (82%), shopper account info (73%) and order tracking (73%).

Only 30% of retailers reported offering live chat, but another 41% plan to add the feature in the next couple of years, according to the report.

Product recommendations is another area of interest for retailers, with two-thirds offering that feature — but 83% of them said the feature needs improvement.

“Suggestive selling is a great tool to drive incremental sales and is fundamental in supporting further mobilization of retail and the convergence of online and in-store experiences,” BRP wrote. “Wish lists, suggestive selling, browsing history, etc. need to be available and consistent from one device to the next, across channels and in the hands of in-store associates so customers have a seamless shopping experience.”

At least one-fifth of the retailers surveyed indicated no plans to add features including browsing history, loyalty status, live chat or wish list to their sites.

“As e-commerce continues to represent a greater share of retailers’ revenue mix, it is imperative that retailers continue to enhance their online capabilities to keep up with their competitors that are just a click away,” BRP said.


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