The holiday season is approaching fast and the first predictions and tips are being posted across the Web. It seems that many consumers will use the Internet to buy from retailers. In the UK, for instance, a survey found that the computer is more popular to make a retail purchase than a trip to the store.
Although the difference is relatively small (83% versus 81%) and the research was conducted online, it's yet another sign that the digitization of retail commerce continues to rise, especially in the age group of 34-44 year olds where online shopping was clearly preferred.
Obviously, digital devices and online channels are also increasingly used to prepare a purchase and gather the information the empowered consumer wants before buying. Another interesting finding: 24% of UK consumers used their smartphone for research in a retail context. And we haven't talked about the impact of online social recommendations yet.
While the increasing use of digital devices and channels in retail continues to grow, it's probably not that much of a surprise. However, even if exact data can differ and we can't extrapolate the UK results to other markets, retailers can hardly ignore the e-commerce opportunity ahead.
More importantly, the fast adoption of mobile devices (how many people will get a new smartphone or tablet this holiday season?) and the use of these devices to research the Web for information on products before the purchase, are confirmations of the conviction that 2013 might become the year where we will see more omnichannel or multichannel retail initiatives and demand from shoppers.
The fact that many smartphone users start their research on mobile and continue their journey elsewhere, often in-store, is just one simple indication of this growing trend.
More on that in my blog post on agile and multichannel commerce in Europe and the rise of in-store, based on Forrester findings. So, are you ready for the online holiday season shopper and have you optimized your marketing efforts yet to end the year the best way possible?
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