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Multichannel shopping becoming new norm

Ray AllegrezzaRay Allegrezza
Virginia, if you are reading this I hope you are sitting down. There is no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny and despite what you've been told, no one silver bullet to help you succeed at retail, and that even includes social media.
     During the April High Point Market, I was speaking with a retailer who extolled the clout of social media and its various platforms, and how he intended to blow his competition away with a handful of clever social-media related tactics.
     While I am the first to applaud creative marketing regardless of what form it takes, I'm of the belief that while social media can play a part in every retailer's marketing, it only represents one bullet - and it is not made of silver.
     Here's why: Armed with her smartphone and the Internet, today's shopper not only multitasks - she has become incredibly fluent at multichannel shopping.
     That perception is backed up by a new study from Hybris, a supplier of multichannel commerce and communication software, which recently surveyed consumers to determine their behaviors and expectations for a multichannel shopping experience.
     The study found that the importance of online and mobile strategies continues to grow with just under 40% of the consumers polled, who said that they are making more purchases online than instore.
     When asked about their shopping plans for this year's fourth quarter holiday season, 46% said they intend to boost their online shopping during that period, compared with only 8% who said they would increase their in-store shopping.
     Also worth noting was 19% of the consumers polled admitted that, even while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, they access digital channels.
     Of that group, 66% said they do so to compare prices. Another 27% said they use their mobile devices while in a store to compare product choices with another 8% saying they used their mobile devices in store to read online recommendations.
     Hybris President Steve Kramer said that consumers also indicated an expectation that their favorite retailers will be accessible to them anytime and anywhere, admittedly a tall order.
     But at the end of the day, aren't orders - lots of them - what we want?
     She's out there looking for you. But will she find you, regardless of when and where she comes looking?

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