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Consumers Want A Better Multi-Channel Experience

05/18/2012

There’s new research suggesting that more than 80 percent of U.S consumers more likely to become loyal customers to retailers that provide an integrated experience across channels.

The Multichannel Shopping Survey found that the importance of online and mobile strategies continue to increase, with more than a third of consumers (39 percent) reporting that they make more purchases online than in-store. Looking ahead, 46 percent of consumers plan to increase their online shopping during the 2012 holiday season.

Even while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, consumers turn to digital channels with 19 percent reporting that they browse their mobile device while in-store. Two thirds use mobile to compare prices, with others using mobile to compare product choices (27 percent) and read online recommendations (7 percent).

Most retailers have barely put their toes in the mobile channel. The presence of a website and a Facebook page is the basis of many retail online strategies – which is really no strategy.

Grocers, for example, would be well served by ramping up their mobile presence as nearly half of their customers make unplanned purchases while shopping as a result of in-store or online marketing. Seems like an obvious way to increase the dollars per shopping cart.

Nearly half of all consumers indicated in-store pickup options for online purchases were most important. Retailers should take note of this. Outdoor retailer REI found that consumers who came in to their stores to pick up purchases made on the REI website (and shipped free to the store) spent an additional $90+ during that visit. That’s some serious ROI on the expense of shipping.

What consumers want is really pretty simple. Consumers want retailers to conform to their lifestyles. Time, access and flexibility are important measures of a retailers “multi-channelness”. This is not impossible stuff but it will require retailers to think outside the box…which has not proven to be very easy when you look at brands like Best Buy or Borders.

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