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RSRResearch-Digital-Channel-Value-Driving-Store-Traffic-Sales-May2013Some retailers aren’t sold on the concept of digital channels being the primary driver of future growth, at the expense of stores. But most do see the value of digital channels in driving traffic to stores – and they have some thoughts on which work best once the consumer is actually in the store. Results from RSR Research’s “The Relevant Store in the Digital Age” [download page] reveal that nearly all retailers see their e-commerce sites as having a lot (58%) or some (38%) value in driving traffic to stores. And while there’s some angst about showrooming, 87% recognize that smartphones have a lot (50%) or some (37%) value in driving store traffic.

Other digital channels that retailers see as valuable in driving foot traffic are their mobile applications or websites (88%) and their email communications (91%). While retailers are a bit less confident about the ability of their social networking efforts to bring in consumers, 84% still see a lot (33%) or some (51%) value to their social media presence.

When it comes to actually delivering sales in-store, though, retailers are less convinced about their e-commerce sites’ value, ranking it behind their mobile applications and websites and consumers’ smartphones. Specifically, mobile apps or web are rated by 35% as having a lot of value in driving in-store sales, and smartphones by 33%, while only one-quarter see e-commerce sites as delivering a lot of value in that regard. (Social networking presence and email communications are even less highly rated.) That seems to reflect an understanding that consumers are more likely to engage with a mobile app or website in-store than a social networking page or email.

According to new data from Google, consumers using their smartphones for research in-store are most likely to turn to search engines first, and prefer store and brand websites to apps.

About the Data: The data is derived from a survey conducted by RSR online from March-April 2013, which received answers from 131 qualified retail respondents. 40% of respondents come from retailers with at least $1 billion in 2011 revenue, and about half are headquartered in the US.

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