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A recent survey from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) found that more than 60% of shoppers are less likely to return goods bought online.
This is partly due to a lack of awareness from consumers about their rights when shopping online, but could also be the fault of retailers and their returns policies.
This is an area where multichannel retailers can do a lot to reassure customers about buying online by allowing in-store returns, so which retailers are doing this?
Insurance firm Endsleigh recently launched a completely new website, aiming to attract and service more customers online. This is part of a wider decision which involved the closure of its branches.
I've been talking to Jennifer Day, Online Sales Performance Manager at Endsleigh, about the company's online strategy, keeping insurance applications usable, and its approach to multichannel marketing...
A new study of online retailers in the UK suggests that, thanks to the ability to offer a 'seamless and consistent' customer experience both online and offline, multichannel retailers have the edge over pure plays.
In the eDigital Research Benchmark study, which used mystery shoppers to look at 58 UK e-commerce sites, found that multichannel retailers dominate the top 20, with only three spots occupied by pure plays.
So why is this?
Customers shopping from multichannel retailers will naturally expect that they can return their purchases to their local store. After all, it's all the same company, isn't it?
It turns out that some companies are multichannel in name only. These are multichannel brands that sell and - theoretically - service customers and prospects across multiple channels, but all too often they are not joined up. The left hand doesn't have a clue what the right one is doing, and seemingly doesn't want to.
For example, some multichannel retailers don't cater for returns in a sensible way, and they run the risk of losing customers and repeat business as a result...
Do you remember when “unbundling” hit the travel sector? Popularised, maybe even invented, by the likes of Expedia and lastminute.com, the internet allowed customers to create their own ‘custom’ travel experience by breaking down the components, like flights, hotels, car hire and so on, into discrete elements which the customer then configured.
I think the same is happening to the retail shopping experience. And, if I’m right, there are some very considerable implications for retailers and those that play in the retail chain.
A new report suggests that multichannel retailers need to integrate their offline and online inventory more closely to avoid losing sales as customers switch between channels.
According to the Multichannel Retail Report from GSI Commerce, if customers can't find an item instore and decide to look for it online, 69% would compare prices across other websites, meaning that risk losing potential sales to rivals.
Fashion retailer Zara released an iPhone app recently, which falls well short of what a retailer could achieve with an iPhone app, in terms of promoting products and providing useful information for users.
The app offers a few pictures of its clothing range and new arrivals, but little else. Having looked at the app, I do wonder why they have bothered at all...
We've interviewed nearly 100 industry experts this year on various topics, from affiliate marketing to web analytics.
I've gathered together our interviews on the subject of e-commerce in 2009, all 21 of them...
Shutl promises to revolutionise e-commerce by solving issues around delivery and providing customers and retailers with same day and named hour delivery options.
The company's official launch will be announced at LeWeb today by founder and CEO Tom Allason, who also founded eCourier in 2003.
I spoke to Tom last week about how Shutl works, and why Tom thinks it will be a game changer for e-commerce...
The postal strikes last month cost retailers a total of £53m in lost sales, but some retailers managed to offset customer concerns around delivery by offering collect in store services.
Argos is one example, reporting growth in use of its Check and Reserve service around the time of the strikes, and providing an example for other multichannel retailers of how to minimise the disruption caused by postal strikes.
Comet launched its first mobile site, the first for any UK electrical retailer, earlier this month. The site allows users to browse the retailer's product range and reserve items for collection at local stores.
I've been trying the Comet mobile site (on an iPhone) to see how well it performs...
John Lewis is one retailer which has been a success online over the last few years, experiencing consistent sales growth, and has often been used as an example of a usable website on this blog.
I've been asking John Lewis Direct MD Robin Terrell, one of the keynote speakers at the recent Internet Retailing conference, about the company's approach to e-commerce...