Shoppers now want more from brands than a catalogue, says Bloomreach boss

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As Argos announces plans to stop publishing its iconic catalogue as more shoppers browse and buy online, Michael Schirrmacher, UK MD at Bloomreach, comments: “The past few months have radically transformed the shopping experience: browsing and purchases are now happening online first, with physical shops acting more and more as fulfilment centres – embodied by the rise of click-and-collect. Catalogues no longer have a place to play in a post-COVID shopping experience, and we can only welcome brands that are now shifting their investment into smarter solutions to help their customers make the right choices online. 

In fact, in the State of Commerce Experience research study, conducted by Forrester and commissioned by Bloomreach, we found that over 90% of customers have changed behaviour as they avoid physical stores, put discretionary shopping on hold, and buy exclusively online or as much as possible online. Yet, the online experience is still lacklustre for most of them, with 72% reporting challenges — from out of stock items, inaccurate search results, poor or missing imagery, lack of reviews or ratings, and inflexible delivery options.  

Brands are tackling this challenge head-on as they compete for audiences, and that means leaving behind traditional solutions to create an experience that harnesses the full capabilities of eCommerce. Shoppers now want more from brands than a catalogue where they can browse items: they want a fully personalised experience that will enable them to find the product they’re looking for or an alternative that immediately responds to their need.”