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…

Consumer demand for multichannel retail

The majority of consumers would find it useful to have a choice of retail channels, and a significant 33.5% felt this was very important.

The results were very similar for both US and UK respondents, so the charts show aggregated data. 

How important is it to be able to purchase from a retailer using different channels? 

Researching purchases online

Do you research purchases on the internet before buying them from a store? 

Use of reserve and collect services

Quite a difference between US and UK consumers, with the latter far more likely to reserve items for in-store collection. 

Many of the biggest multichannel retailers in the UK are offering this service, (Argos, John Lewis, Halfords etc) with some success. 

For example, Argos’ multichannel sales grew to £1.9bn in the year up to February 26 2011, representing almost half (46%) of its total sales. The reserve and collect iPhone app accounted for 1% of total sales. 

Do you reserve products online before collecting them from an offline store? 

Use of mobiles for shopping

The use of mobile when shopping offline represents a growing challenge for retailers, as these stats show. 

US consumers are slightly more likely to use barcode scanners and compare prices via mobile, but a significant minority of US and UK respondents are using mobile as an offline shopping aid. 

Multichannel returns

The vast majority of both US and UK respondents expect to be able to return items bought online to a local store

However, as Snow Valley’s recent Online Returns Report found, just half of the multichannel retailers studied allow customers to do this. 

If you buy something online, do you expect to be able to return it to a local store? 

Use of catalogues

Percentage of customers that have used catalogues at least once in the past year before buying online or in store (aggregated US and UK results).

If you’d like to see more stats from the multichannel retail survey, the US survey is here, and the UK stats are here