UK citizens are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their online shopping habits and retailers risk being left behind if they cannot provide multi-channel experiences to meet these growing needs, according to new research from IBM.
The IBM study interviewed over 4,000 consumers in the UK and US about their shopping preferences, and found that over 75 per cent of multi-channel consumers prefer the experience of shopping online and then in-store.
The research identified the most popular shopping categories among multi-channel consumers as Apparel/Accessories & Footwear followed by Home Improvement/DIY and Appliances.
"The concept of the traditional shopping experience is going. People no longer choose one channel," said Daniel Bagge, IBM associate director for multi-channel retail.
"Consumers will choose their channels based on experience and the products they are shopping for, so retailers need to think how to drive the right experience."
As the trend for store-to-online shopping grows, retailers with an offline presence should treat their stores as "experience centres" in an effort to improve customer loyalty, Bagge suggested.
"It's all about the brand. It's about saying 'you know my brand, you trust me, so here are a number of channels to make your life easier that will be cheaper,'" he said.
Over 50 per cent of UK shoppers switch retailers when multi-channel shopping, according to the research, making efforts at nurturing customer loyalty and personalising the shopping experience even more important, Bagge added.
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