Retailers must embrace multichannel integration

With the British high street currently struggling to maintain profits, a recent survey carried out by online retail marketing experts Equi=Media has found that only 7 per cent said that they shopped completely offline, leading the agency to warn retailers of the need to better integrate their offline and online offering, or risk losing out on vital trade this Christmas.

Almost half (47 per cent) of consumers said they preferred to combine online and in-store shopping, but with many stores and offline retailers still not offering a fully integrated multichannel service to their customer, retailers are potentially missing out on a significant volume of  sales.

Over half (57 per cent) claimed they spent time researching goods both in store and online before they made a purchase, indicating the importance of retailers offering seamlessly integrated access to their brand and key offers whether customers ultimately buy online or on the High Street.

This is in contrast to the number of people using only one channel, with two fifths (21 per cent) saying that they knew exactly what they wanted to buy and went straight to the website to make their purchase, but only 13 per cent who said they went straight to the store.

Andrew Burgess, founder and CEO of Equi=Media, comments:

“As consumers become savvier, online research is becoming increasingly important in the purchasing process. It seems that the ease of the internet, combined with the opportunity for people to ‘look around’ from the comfort of their own homes, has contributed to this surge in online purchasing. Retailers need to target these online consumers by creating hooks such as an ‘in-store pick up’ option, to draw consumers back to the high street, in tandem with work to build online sales. Offering consumer choice would seem to be crucial to success.”

“The fact that so many people are researching products and goods using various methods and platforms indicates that the desire to impulse buy is giving way to a much more careful and measured approach to spending money. Retailers need to recognise this and ensure they are capturing consumers in all mediums; those who are able to successfully combine both online and offline shopping options will certainly grab the market share this Christmas. Offline sales are increasing driven by online marketing and websites, so retailers must focus on fully integrating the two outlets to maximise the cross-sale opportunities.”


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