Customers are increasingly switching between channels when researching and making purchases, with the vast majority using at least two in their purchase decisions. 

This is one of the findings of an ATG Cross-Channel Commerce study (registration required), which surveyed 1,054 US consumers… 

The report finds that, while 22% of consumers stuck to the one channel through the research and purchase, 48% used two channels, 24% used three, and 6% used four or more. 

Why are customers switching between channels? 

The report finds that many purchase journeys start out on a computer or mobile, then switch offline, either to a store or a contact centre. 

The reasons given for switching channels were: 

  • 43% called a customer advisor because they were unable to find all the information they needed online. This reinforces the value of having clear contact numbers or live chat options, and also suggests that some etailers need to provide more comprehensive product information. 
  • 39% visited a store to get a feel of a product close-up, while 36% went to a store to compare the same product from different brands. 22% opted for the store to get the item immediately. 
  • 19% called customer services as they found the website too difficult to use or else encountered an error, while 15% wanted to ask about shipping options, which really should be made clear on the website.

Mobile commerce

  • 27% of all consumers used their mobiles to browse and research products at least four times over a 12 month period. For the 18-34 age group, this figure is 41%.
  • 20% of all consumers and 32% 0F 18-34 year olds are researching purchases via mobile at least monthly. 
  • 13% of all consumers and 23% of the 18-34 age group make purchases via their mobile four times a year.

Catalogues

  • Consumers are using catalogues for product research, but a significant proportion use other channels to complete the purchase. 78% of consumers said they use them to browse and discover products, but 41% said they don’t complete the purchase using catalogues. 

Coupons

  • It seems that customers are keen on receiving discounts and coupons via email; 29% said they would redeem coupons, 54% said they would browse the site and see if the promotion suited them.