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Multichannel shoppers spend 82% more

Online shopping has reached a tipping point, with consumers expecting to research their purchases through more than one channel. But this is also a business opportunity, since multichannel shoppers spend an average of 82% more on each transaction.

Multichannel shoppers spend 82% more in each transaction than those who only shop in store, a new report suggests.

Researchers for business adviser Deloitte found that multichannel customers buying in the clothing, home and electrical categories spend on average £116 per transaction compared to £64 for those who only buy in-store.

The researchers defined multichannel as consumers who use more than one channel, such as store, online, catalogue or contact centre before making a purchase.

Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, said: “The commercial imperative for retailers to tackle multi-channel and the incentive for getting it right is clear. The multi-channel consumer is particularly well informed about the products they buy and this greater confidence is resulting in a higher value and a higher volume of purchases.

“The digital revolution in retail is at a tipping point with consumers expecting to shop through any channel and receive consistent service. There are already examples of UK retailers doing well in multichannel but the overriding feeling is that there are many more opportunities to grow. This is particularly the case for those retailers able to respond quickly to customers changing buying habits between channels, for example, the recent growth of clothing online.”

The research found that 38% of all retail transactions across clothing, electrical and home sectors were now influenced by the internet. That breaks down as 21% bought directly online and 17% which are multichannel purchases.

In the electricals category, 62% of transactions were influenced by online, compared to 37% of homeware purchases and 26% of clothing transactions.

Multichannel electricals consumers spend £238 per transaction compared to £160 for those shopping in-store. Homeware customers spend £143 on average, compared to £83 in store, while in clothing, multichannel customers spend £65, compared to £52 in store.

Colin Jeffrey, head of multichannel at Deloitte, said: “Consumers have been relatively slow to switch to buying clothes online but as retailers improve their website’s visual merchandising and offer free and easy returns this is changing fast.”

He added: “The high value of multichannel electrical purchases encourages the level of research in this sector. These purchases are often more considered and just 26% of electrical transactions take place without prior research.”

The research found that consumers from higher socioeconomic groups were more likely to be multichannel shoppers, with 33% of shoppers from groups A and B group employing several channels compared to 22% of those from groups D and E.

And while at the moment just 1% of multichannel shoppers use their mobile to research, that’s expected to increase fast. Catalogues remain key, with 11% of web-influenced homewares consumers and 12% of clothing shoppers doing research through them.

The survey also found 4% of grocery shopping was bought online. 1% of those aged 65 or over bought groceries online, compared to 14% of those aged between 24 and 35.

Geddes said: “There is no doubting the value and growing importance of multichannel retail, but as well as presenting a huge opportunity to retailers it aso gives more power to the consumer. Consumers are more willing then ever to shift loyalties and can be in one retailer’s store researching a product whilst using their smartphone to find the cheapest price on a rival’s website.”

He added: “As the UK retail industry faces a period of weaker demand and slower growth, multichannel is an area where retailers have genuine opportunity to grow. Operating across multiple channels is no longer something for the wish list, it is the cost of doing business.”

2 comments on “Multichannel shoppers spend 82% more

  1. This is interesting in light of our recently published research, which looked at the shopping habits of UK consumers and reveals that shopping today is very much a multi-channel process – with many consumers browsing and researching their non-grocery purchases one way and then actually doing the buying another way. The figures show that 72% of consumers prefer to browse or research purchases online before then making the purchase while only 19% prefer to do their research in-store. But our survey also shows that roughly the same proportion of consumers prefer to buy on the high street (47%) as on the internet (46%). The figures also reveal that a small niche (under 5%) do their browsing and buying through catalogues.

    One problem with the study discussed in this article is that it focuses solely on the Average Transaction Value. In our business, we see that consumers who purchase via the web have a higher ATV than customers who buy in-store or through a range of channels. But we also see that web customers also have lower frequency and a higher attrition rate than other customers. ATV is not a measure of the true value of a customer – it does not look at frequency or gauge loyalty, which are essential in establishing what that customer is worth in the current year and over the next year. What matters is what they spend over a 12-month period, and one buying channel is not the main answer. It is those that buy via web and stores that will be the most valuable and loyal.

    With the nature of shopping having become so complex, retailers really need to compile and analyse customer data in order to identify who is specifically using which channels for each part of the shopping process. They can then tailor offers, communications and services that will engender loyalty, get consumers buying more and purchasing more frequently and generally improve the customer experience.

    Andy Wood, MD, GI Insight

  2. Pingback: Opportunities and challenges for e-commerce in 2011

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