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Multichannel “not one size fits all”, warns expert


The differing expectations of today’s consumers highlight the fact that multichannel offerings are not “one size fits all”, a retail expert said today.

A digital shopper survey of 16,000 online shoppers across 16 countries by Capgemini has revealed that, while 60 per cent of respondents expect a seamless omnichannel experience to be standard by 2014, only 26 per cent of UK shoppers use mobile apps compared to 69 per cent in India.

Alex Smith-Bingham, All Channel Lead at Capgemini, explained the findings to Retail Gazette.

“One really interesting thing that the survey found was that it comes down to shopper behaviour and the fact that habits are changing,” he said.

“Mobile is driving the infrastructure of the developed market and that in turn drives behaviour.

“While some people may not want to be approached as soon as they enter a store, the newer generation coming through will drive mobile use up.”

Appealing to younger, more technology-focused consumers is a primary concern for the majority of retailers as today’s study reveals that 56 per cent of respondents are likely to spend more in store if they have the option to use digital channels to research the product prior to purchase.

A quarter of the total respondent base have been categorised as ‘Social Digital Shoppers’, a group primarily under 35, heavy users of social media and active and trusting users of mobile devices, further emphasising the growing importance of a multichannel strategy.

However, Smith-Bingham notes that, at the other end of the spectrum, more traditional shoppers remain content with the status quo.

13 per cent of total respondents are “techno-shy”, meaning they are not confident in using digital channels and devices and, while this category includes both young and old shoppers, independent retailers with an older customer base must learn the requirements of their key customer.

Smith-Bingham said: “If your market is classic techno-shy and your customers aren’t interested in multichannel then implementing these strategies would not be spending wisely.

“This may change though and learning your market quickly whatever it may be helps drive people into the store. Independent retailers may want to think about what the competition might do as the expectation of the market by 2020 is that most stores will be about sharing, display and experience and if you’re independent what does that mean?

“Having an online offering could differentiate you but actually people can look for a more full experience elsewhere. Thinking about your strategy and where is best to invest is crucial.”

Published on Tuesday 10 July by Editorial Assistant

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