Retailers and brands continue to play catch up with the connected shopper in 2018

Here we look at another theme that is set to shape the shopper agenda in 2018: the rapid rise of the connected shopper.

The importance of technology to the shopping experience continues to grow. Whether it’s improving mapping and social media apps, or the increasing use of digital voice assistants, technology is changing shopper behaviour and shoppers’ expectations of how they engage with brands and retailers. We expect that in 2018 retailers and brands will step up the pace of innovation as they set out to catch up accelerating shopper demands.

More brands are expected to integrate shopping capabilities into their social media brand communications in 2018. We’ve already seen a sharp rise in the incorporation of call to action buttons into Facebook, Instagram and YouTube posts. These give shoppers the ability to act on inspiration, whether it’s to add a product directly to an online basket or providing directions to a store that stocks the product – our experience shows that the latter in particular has excellent potential to deliver ROI.

Increasing adoption of voice technology, such as Amazon Echo, is set to propel digital assistants up the retail and brand agenda and establish them as credible shopper touch points. Unsurprisingly, Amazon is leading the way in encouraging shoppers to use their Echo devices to order products by voice, but they are not the only ones. Morrisons (which has a supply relationship with Amazon) launched an Alexa ‘Skill’ in 2017 allowing shoppers to add items to their online basket, as well as checkout. Ocado too has an Alexa Skill. While Tesco does not have its own Skill, its online shoppers can add items to their basket using either Echo or Google Home devices by registering with the IFTTT website. Penetration of these voice devices will only grow, not only as more people buy Echo and Google Home devices, but as their technology is incorporated into more appliances, from cars to smart fridges. It is our view that retailers and brands need to take voice technology seriously as a shopper touch point, developing compelling content and functionality that delivers better convenience and relevant inspiration for shoppers.

One in five (20%) of households have a voice assistant at home. 58% of households that have a voice assistant have bought something using it

Artificial intelligence will continue to be a focus in 2018, manifesting itself through more effective personalisation, customised marketing campaigns and better product recommendations. VR, and especially AR, are also expected to gain further traction in 2018 – the incorporation of AR into Snapchat in 2017 has helped bring the technology into the mainstream for many shoppers.


This article is an extract from Savvy’s Themes and Outlook for 2018 report. At the start of each year, Savvy speaks to its panel of 1,000 UK grocery shoppers to understand their views, attitudes and opinions. Our insight team then analyses the data and considers the key issues that are set to influence the market. In the report we present our view on the shopper landscape and highlight the key themes which we expect to shape the agenda in 2018. To receive the full report please contact Taj Sur.