The benefits for retailers of a multichannel approach are highlighted this week by the fact that Halfords has recently reached it's one millionth online reservation for in store collection.
Customers like to do their research online, and it makes perfect sense for those online retailers with a high street presence to offer in store collection services and thus cater for shoppers who would rather shop offline.
Some of the UK's leading financial comparison sites need to work hard at improving the user experience on their websites, according to a new study.
According to Webcredible's Future Comparisons white paper (pdf), presentation of search results, and the ability to manipulate and sort was one major area for improvement, while customer trust issues were often not addressed adequately.
The report looks at the five main financial comparison sites in the UK: Moneysupermarket.com, Gocompare.com, Comparethemarket.com, Confused.com, and uSwitch.com.
While 87% of online shoppers abandon their shopping baskets, the majority plan to return to websites later to complete their purchases, with baskets effectively used as wish lists.
According to a basket abandonment survey from Amaze, 74% of respondents said they would return at a later date to make a purchase, and many are using the basket as a means to 'window shop' on e-commerce sites.
The report suggests that, since there is little that etailers can do to change this behaviour, then less emphasis should be placed on abandonment rates as a measure of success or failure.
Online retailers still need to work on customer services, with slow responses to customer queries among the areas which need improvement.
The latest e-Customer Service Index survey by eDigitalResearch and IMRG, which asked 10,000 respondents, scored 76.7% overall, compared with 79.6% in November 2008. Providing online help and the speed of response to customer enquiries were the main issues.
For the second consecutive quarter, online ad spending has been in decline: 5% in Q3 of this year, according to IDC. The company forecast continaul shrinkage in spend for the rest of the calendar year, saying we may have to wait until mid-2010 for a meaningful recovery in online media buying in search, display, and classified advertising.
Global online spending shrunk this past quarter to $13.9 billion, versus $14.7 billion in the same year-ago period. Only the Asia/Pacific region and Japan saw slight spending gains.