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Online retail sales are expected to soar to more than £4.6bn in the first two weeks of December,with around £1bn of this to be through mobile devices.

This demonstrates the changing face of the retail sector, and the need for retailers to enable channel hopping, claims Mark King, VP Europe and Africa, Aspect Software.

 IMRG and Capgemini’s research not only showed a huge increase in online retailing, but also showed just how far mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have impacted our lives.

 King said: “Retailers need to ensure that they are prepared and accommodate for the ways in which shoppers want to interact with them. The bricks vs. clicks argument is no longer relevant and retailers should instead be questioning bricks vs. clicks vs. app vs. mobile site vs. social media and so on.

 “As consumers demand that retailers have a presence on a multitude of channels – whilst channel hopping between them all – retailers are challenged to create a seamless experience across the board.

 “We recently commissioned independent research which found that over two thirds (69 per cent) consider themselves to be a multi-channel retailer, with a further 21 per cent planning to become multi-channel by 2014. Similarly, retailers are on average using six channels for communicating with customers, with a further two due to be added in the next 12 to 18 months. The channel set to experience the biggest growth is mobile applications and by 2014, customers will be able to make purchases through a mobile application from almost half (46 per cent) of retailers. This presents a challenge for retailers in that they need to provide the same high level of experience across all channels that they operate on.

 “Consumers are increasingly expecting to ‘channel hop’ based on type of query, channel preference and convenience at that moment in time. Retailers therefore need not only to be multi-channel but integrated and flexible too,” concluded Mark.

 The face of retailing has changed and today’s tech-savvy consumer craves convenience and flexibility – in terms of product, modes of retailing and hours. Retailers must face these challenges head on and ensure that they invest in technologies in order to continue to be successful. Those who fail to do so will follow the many retailers, such as those on the high street, who have already fallen victim to the evolution.

 

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