Study: the multi-channel customer buys more and Internet is key


Multi-channel consumers spend 82% more per transaction than a customer who only shops in store, according to new research released by Deloitte in December. The research also found that by value, 38% of all retail transactions across clothing, electrical and home sectors are now influenced by the Internet, with 21% from direct online shopping whilst 17% are multi-channel transactions.

With 62% of transactions influenced by online use, electronics is the most popular multi-channel category. House-wares and clothing are distant also-rans with 37% and 26% respectively. Multi-channel electronics shoppers also spend the most at an average of 238 pounds per transaction as compared to just 160 pounds per transaction of those shopping in store only.

Obviously the higher value of electronics helps push the percentages up for this commodity - people want to be sure they've done their research completely before buying these kinds of items. 

An educated consumer is a motivated buyer. When the consumer is confident that they have all the facts and various opinions of the product they are shopping for, they are ready to buy. While it may take three or four trips to a store for traditional in-store shopper to make up their mind about that big screen TV, the multi-channel consumer has already done their homework and is ready to put down the cash.

Some other interesting findings:

  • Consumers from higher socioeconomic groups are more likely to be multi-channel shoppers (33% of AB vs 22% of DE)
  • Men are more likely to be web influenced shoppers than women and also tend to spend more per transaction (33% male vs 27% female)
  • 1% of multi-channel clothing shoppers used their mobile device for research purposes, but we expect this to increase rapidly
  • Catalogues remain an important element of shopping in the UK. 11% of web influenced home ware consumers and 12% of web influenced clothing shoppers used catalogues for research purposes.

As the Deloitte researchers observe, multi-channel consumers are more empowered and more confident. The power of persuasion is slipping and even the slickest salesperson can't overcome a consumer who is armed as well as the multi-channel buyer is. Clarity and confidence which comes from information will always trump persuasion.

This doesn't mean that retail is dead. This means the focus of your sales staff on the floor should change. It's not as important now to have persuaders as it is to have product experts who can interact and relate to people and provide pre and post sales support. It's nothing new to stress how important product knowledge is to your sales staff, but now they must also be support and customer service experts. When a customer has an issue or problem your relationship with them may hinge on how adept your sales staff is at finding them quick, satisfactory solutions to an issue.

The shop floor is just one touch point. Do you have all your customer touch points covered? Are you prepared to meet them on their terms? You can't do it all by hand, you need to have a strategy in place and be prepared with the right automation solutions so that you don't miss an opportunity, regardless of what channel provides it to you.

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