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13 September 2012
The traditional sales channels are still playing a key role in consumer shopping patterns.
Portaltech Reply, the Reply company specialising in multichannel e-commerce strategy and solution consulting services, continues to monitor the way the shopping habits of British consumers are changing with the development of mobile channels and the growth of smartphone use. This survey was conducted in collaboration with online and multichannel business research specialist eDigitalResearch.
The new research1 shows that despite the continuous growth in use of mobile and online channels, driven by the spread of smartphones, the more traditional sales channels (shops and catalogues in particular) are still important retailer-consumer contact points, and for this reason should not be neglected when setting up appropriate and effective sales strategies.
The research data indicated that 77% of the smartphone owners surveyed had used catalogues for research or browsing in the preceding six months. At the same time, the number of smartphone owners who visited a shop once a week to make a purchase has decreased to 52% from 57% 12 months ago and from 69% in 2010. This is nevertheless a high percentage, confirming the role that these channels can still play in retailer-consumer interaction.
Of the smartphone owners surveyed, 84% stated that they made online purchases (via websites or mobile devices) regularly on a weekly or monthly basis. This figure has increased by 36%, compared to the first survey carried out one year ago.
If we look purely at the use of mobile devices, 77% of smartphone owners said that they used their devices for research; 64% to purchase items; and, of these consumers, 1 out of 5 does this on a weekly basis.
In short, the increase in online or mobile shopping corresponds to a decrease in sales via traditional channels. Of the latter, the most widely used channels continue to be shops and catalogues; while the practice of using call centres to place orders is gradually disappearing.
"The results of this research provide important feedback for retailers who need to define the most appropriate and effective commercial strategy that will deliver the best experience to their customers", commented Filippo Rizzante, Reply Executive Partner and CTO. "The development of mobile applications and the spread of websites that are optimised for mobile use, combined with the increased propensity of customers to try alternative shopping channels, are an incentive for companies like ours which are involved in promoting multichannel e-commerce technologies. We will see important developments in the next few months with the application of some of the latest technologies, such as quick response (QR) codes and near field communication (NFC)".
In all product categories, the mobile shopping trend is upward. The most commonly purchased products online are books, CDs, DVDs, holidays, tickets and clothing.
Specifically, some 62% of smartphone owners have shopped online for clothing in the past six months (a rise of 6% over last year), whilst 77% of smartphone owners have purchased holidays or tickets online, 10% on mobile websites and 7% using mobile apps.
Another product category that has experienced a high increase in sales via smartphone is jewellery. Mobile site purchases have more than doubled over the past 12 months from 4% to 9%, whilst mobile app purchases have increased from 3% to 4%. Furniture and homeware retailers have also seen an increase in the number of orders through a mobile site with over 6% of smartphone owners having purchased items from their mobile device (2% more than last year).
Derek Eccleston, Head of Research at eDigitalResearch, comments: "Our surveys allow us to monitor the impact that smartphones and new technologies have had on the behaviour and shopping patterns of consumers. Our research points to the need for retailers to integrate all customer contact points, both old and new, to provide a unique, increasingly multichannel experience. For retailers operating across the more traditional channels or for those who are planning to introduce new touch points, it is essential to create a dynamic multichannel strategy, which involves all channels in the network browsing and shopping process".
2The surveys were conducted online in Great Britain on a representative sample of over 1100 consumers including smartphone owners and mobile phone owners.
Portaltech Reply is the Reply company specialising in the provision of e-commerce implementation and Multichannel consulting services. The company has gained substantial experience in e-commerce since inception in 2000 by working on some of Europe’s largest e-commerce and MultiChannel retailing projects. Portaltech Reply is 100% dedicated to hybris technology and is one of the world’s most experienced and respected implementation partners with Platinum Elite status. Portaltech Reply customers include TUI, Long Tall Sally, Office Shoes, O2, Bunzl Group, Thompson & Morgan and the Daily Mail group. www.portaltechreply.com
eDigitalResearch are insight specialists with an expertise in online and multichannel business. We bring passionate researchers, technical experts and art designers together all under one roof to work with clients and create bespoke insight programmes. eDigitalResearch not only offer unrivalled digital research expertise and insight support, but state-of-the-art technology and innovation that works seamlessly with your systems and data across customer touch points. Our products and services help you to reach your customers no matter how they interact with businesses. Surveys, panels and communities combine to provide holistic insight to give clients the confidence to make critical business decisions. Email