Compete Blog: Cross Channel Shopping Is a Must
By Debra Miller
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from the Compete Blog. Compete Inc.
is a web analytics company that focuses on understanding how consumers use
Consumers increasingly do not differentiate between store inventory
and online inventory, meaning that retailers need to stop thinking about them
as two separate entities. Accordingly to the latest Compete Online Shopper
Intelligence study, more than one out of every three consumers indicate that
they are extremely or very likely to research products online before purchasing
them in a store.
At the same time, asked what would encourage them to purchase
more products online, 54 percent indicated an in-store return option while
45 percent indicated an in-store pickup option.
Cost, convenience and the need for a tactile experience are the top reasons
consumers research online, but purchase in a store, according to the study.
While retailers can alleviate some of the cost and convenience hurdles with
free and fast shipping or in-store pickup and returns, they cannot provide
consumers with a tactile experience over the internet (or at least not yet).
Making sure online inventory matches in-store inventory as well as making sure
product information on websites is accurate becomes more critical in looking
to convert online shoppers into in-store purchasers.
Finally, retailers need to understand how consumer cross channel
behavior varies by category. Electronics top the list when looking at the tendency
to research online but purchase in a store, as more than half of the consumers
surveyed in the study said they would do so. Home related products — kitchen,
home furnishings and home improvement — round out slots 2 – 4 at about 40
percent of shoppers stating they research online before purchasing offline.
selling these categories need to think of every online shopper as a potential
in-store customer. It would also be strategically prudent of these retailers
to make sure they are present on "Where to Buy" lists on
third party sites so that they do not miss out on in-market consumers.
Questions: What are the best ways for retailers to convert online browsers
into in-store shoppers? For most retailers, what is most needed for improving
the cross channel shopping experience?