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Last month Econsultancy surveyed 2,000 consumers in the UK and 2,000 consumers in the US, to unearth attitudes to multichannel shopping and service. The survey was compiled using the TolunaQuick tool.
We found that there are a lot of similarities, but also some distinct differences in consumer behaviour in the UK and US...
Having already released a successful app for Argos (which has been downloaded almost 1m times), Home Retail Group yesterday launched a reserve and collect app for Homebase.
Homebase has seen a 600% increase in online sales via mobile in the last year, and users have made 3m stock checks on the main website since February, so a mobile launch makes perfect sense.
With Econsultancy's JUMP event just a couple of weeks away, I've rounded up some examples of UK retailers who have used a joined up approach to drive their multichannel revenues.
While some, like Halfords, John Lewis and Argos, have been reporting impressive multichannel sales for some time now, others like Debenhams and House of Fraser are just starting to see the benefits of this approach...
Halfords launched its first mobile website last week which aims to cater for users doing product research on the move, another multichannel move by the retailer.
The new mobile site was developed by Salmon, and allows users to browse items and reserve them for collection from their nearest store. I've been trying the site out...
Online retail continues to grow, with 42.6% of UK consumers buying online at least once a week, and the average online spend per shopper reaching £71 per month.
Theses are some of the finding of a survey of 2,000 UK shoppers by eCommera, which also finds that more than a third of shoppers have increased their online spending over the past year.
Here are some highlights from the report...
Argos is showing other multichannel retailers how it's done, with its multichannel sales reaching £1.9bn in the last financial year.
According to the company's results (pdf), multichannel accounted for 43% of Argos' sales, and justifies the company's investment in services such as reserve and collect.
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.
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.
Having already achieved some success with its 'Reserve and Collect' service, Halfords is extending its multichannel strategy with the introduction of an SMS reservation service.
The 'Text and Reserve' service caters for mobile users, allowing them to check stock availability and reserve products at their nearest store. I've been trying it out...
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.
Allowing customers to reserve items online for instore pick up is working well for retailers, with both Argos and Halfords posting impressive improvements in multichannel revenues.
In both cases, reserve and collect services were responsible for driving significant numbers of offline sales.