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  • 10 Jun

Retail Assist’s Multichannel Research Report 2011

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Mint Velvet IT OutsourcingRetail Assist recently carried out a Multichannel Retail survey, in which individuals were invited to identify their current shopping habits and their future purchasing intentions. The purpose of the research was to gain insight, which will be of value to retailers wishing to develop their multichannel strategy.

Background

The respondents to the survey were all professionals working in retail IT, within an age range of 16-65. The participant mix was 56.6% males and 43.3% females, all of whom were located throughout the UK.

The survey investigated preferred shopping channels, frequency of purchase and type of purchases made using the various multichannel options on offer. The research was designed to assess the different channels currently available and customers’ use and requirements in each.

Results

Alex Ievins, Marketing Manager at Retail Assist, summarises the findings: “Our research supports the theory that customers are choosing to buy in different ways.  Whilst there are now a growing number of routes to market, the preferred channels are currently stores and the internet.  Stores still take the lead at 64.9%, with 95.3% of research done prior to purchase predominantly being internet-based.”

Continues Ievins: “The number of Smartphone owners in our study was high (77%), the majority (50%) of whom had an iPhone.  Although most owners were not currently using their ‘phone for purchasing, some respondents had done so.  We certainly identified more regular activity in comparison to a year ago, leading to rising expectations of this channel.”

Although stores currently still attract the highest volume of purchases, the research suggests that this is declining.  A significant level of respondents indicated that they made purchases from stores less frequently now than they did a year ago.

It would appear that each channel is being used to purchase different types of products.  Food/drink and clothing were the most frequently purchased items from stores, the internet was used most regularly to purchase electrical items, and catalogues were used most regularly to purchase clothing.

However, the catalogue channel did not emerge from this survey as a dominant purchasing tool.  The majority of respondents are neither using the channel, nor planning to increase their usage in the short-term. So, whilst channels such as m-commerce and e-commerce are growing, some of the more traditional channels such as catalogues are decreasing in popularity.

Alex concludes: “It would appear from our research that product reviews positively influence the purchasing decision.   The majority of respondents expressed loyalty to certain stores and owned, on average, one to two loyalty cards. As regards delivery, despite the growing number of choices available, the favoured option was free delivery.”

“The growing use of social media was evident in the study with 70% of respondents having a Facebook account. Whilst some did not view this as a purchasing channel, certain participants had purchased via a social media store. The expectation of which channels customers see themselves using in the future is already changing.  It will be interesting to see which of these areas continue to grow, which decline, and if and when we will see new additions to the multichannel mix.”

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