Multi-Channel Consumers Not Necessarily Most Loyal or Profitable

Multi-Channel Consumers Not Necessarily Most Loyal or Profitable

Multi-channel shoppers spend nearly twice as much on goods and services as their single-channel counterparts, but they are also more astute about pricing and most likely to purchase from multiple retailers, according to (pdf) a study from Opinion Research Corporation (ORC).

Customers who use more than a single channel to interact with an organization – shopping online as well as in a company’s store, for example – are becoming increasingly challenging for retailers, who need to spend more marketing and customer-service dollars to retain them, ORC said.

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“Multi-channel retailing is growing at a rate of approximately 30% a year in transaction value, and the way customers use these channels is rapidly expanding,” said Jill Glathar, PhD, VP and director of the market planning and development practice at ORC. “The assumption that multi-channel consumers are loyal and profitable is not necessarily true.”

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Consumers’ multi-channel use varies by industry. The retailers that have had the most success implementing multi-channel strategies include big-box organizations Borders and Home Depot (17%); mass merchants such as Wal-Mart and Target (16%); department stores (14%); and restaurants (11%).

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Other survey findings:

  • Internet shopping will continue to grow, with 65% of respondents expecting to make a web-based purchase in the future, vs. 42% who use the web channel now.

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  • Telephone shopping will continue to rise, as 39% of respondents plan to use the phone to make purchases in the future, compared with only 21% who do now.
  • Customers expect to be able to use more channels in the future to buy goods and services. New channels, such as mobile, geo-locator service and peer-to-peer communication will have greater impact on shopping behavior.

About the survey: The telephone survey was conducted April 10-14, 2008 by ORC among 1,090 respondents.