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'Multichannel revolution' reality for US

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Is multichannel shopping here yet? The vision of joined-up shopping, in which consumers buy online, through catalogues, call centres or mobiles as well as through shops, has long been an industry ambition. But today it’s fast becoming a reality in the US, according to new research from ATG.

The survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that 78% of respondents used two or more channels to browse, research and make purchases, while 30% used three channels or more.

Thirty-nine per cent said they browsed online or via mobile before buying in store because they preferred to touch and feel the product, while 43% said they started research online or by mobile but then needed to complete their transaction by calling a call centre because they couldn’t find the product information they needed online.

The research also detected a rise in the use of mobile, especially in the younger age groups – 13% of all consumers aged 18 and above said they browsed and researched products and services from their phones at least four times a year. But when it comes to the 18-34 age group, 23% per cent are doing this at least four times a year, and 8% weekly.

This all gives retailers a strong motivation to get their multichannel strategy right, according to Nina McIntyre, ATG’s senior vice president of marketing and chief marketing officer. “We are seeing a multichannel revolution now, with a vast majority of consumers using multiple channels and now almost one-third actually relying on three or more channels to complete transactions. Retailers must direct their energy toward fulfilling the unique role and sales potential of each channel.”

Our view: This research illustrates the state of play in the US – giving UK retailers a valuable heads-up on what’s likely to be around the corner. It seems this is a good time to make sure that multichannel is up and working properly - in all channels.

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