IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 25 Jul 2011

Multichannel – what’s all the fuss about?

AlanBarely a day goes by without a press release being circulated announcing a retailer’s redesigned ecommerce site, mobile optimised website, app, or even social media store. Are companies just jumping on the bandwagon because their peers are developing fresh channels and they don’t want to get left behind, or is there sound reasoning behind the new developments? I believe it’s the latter, and this reasoning is driven by three vital targets for any successful retail business – loyalty, profit and return on investment.

Loyalty: Multichannel retailers can have a more loyal customer base, as consumers are able to access their goods via various channels. Research undertaken by Retal Assist this year found that 68.7% participants considered themselves to be loyal to certain shops or brands, and 70.2% owned at least one loyalty card. With this evidence of repeat purchasing, it is no wonder that retailers are putting effort into developing and integrating numerous channels.

Profit: Recent research carried out by Deloitte discovered that multichannel customers buying in the clothing, home and electrical categories spend on average £116 per transaction compared to £64 for those who only buy in-store. In clothing, multichannel customers spend £65 on average compared to £52 in-store. Shoppers from higher socio economic groups are also more likely to be multichannel shoppers, with 33% of shoppers from groups A and B employing several channels compared to 22% of those from groups D and E.

ROI: The relatively low investment required to establish channels powered by the internet, such as websites and social media stores, is proving popular with retailers. These channels also allow higher levels of interaction with the customer, increasing the retailer’s influence over their final buying decision.

Are you a retailer using a number of different routes to market? Do you agree that these are the primary advantages of multichannel retailing or are there other key benefits that have been omitted?

If you’d like more information regarding the findings of Retail Assist’s recent 2011 Multichannel survey, which investigated customer shopping habits across multiple channels, the full report is available to download at

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