A new survey of 1,000 US adults reveals consumer attitudes to multi-channel retailing, with 80% saying that it is important to have a choice of shopping instore, by telephone, or online.

The results of the survey suggest that US retailers are failing to meet customer demands for effective multichannel retailing.

Sterling Commerce found that 90% of those surveyed stressed the importance of being able to return goods purchased online to a company’s physical store, though only 22% feel that it is easy to do so at present.

For those companies who make this process easy, the benefits are there in increased potential sales – 55% of those surveyed said they were likely to spend time looking around a company’s store for a replacement item, while 78% said they may well buy additional items when returning goods.

Multichannel retailing can present a challenge to companies that are structured around product lines or by channel, but there are benefits.

A recent Consumer Electronics Association survey in the US revealed the extent to which online research activity can affect offline sales.

As well as revealing that 77% of electronics purchases were researched online, the report suggested that multi channel shopper were more informed, and more likely to recommend products to friends and family.

A Zendor survey of UK consumers from January 2006 suggests that multi-channel shoppers are likely to spend more, shop more often, and spend more time researching their purchases.

Further Reading:
Multi-channel firms ignore Online Customer Experience at their peril  

Graham Charlton

Published 16 January, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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