There are those who walk into a store not knowing what they may find. Then, there are those that come in to a retailer already knowing exactly what they want because they've done their product research online.
Forrester Research has a name for it: "cross-channel shopping." It's rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with. In a report titled "The US Consumer 2004: Multichannel and In-Store Technology" the research firm details a number specific shopping characteristics and behaviors particular to cross-channel shoppers. The analysis was based on a survey of 8,000 online consumers.
Cross-channel shoppers actually comprise the majority of all online consumers, 65 percent in 2004. Of these, 51 percent are characterized as active cross-channel shoppers who made at least one purchase in the past three months. The trend is bound to continue; the number of new cross-channel shoppers in the past year was 30 percent.
Stakes for retailers are particularly high. Cross-channel shoppers spend an average $458 on products they research online and buy offline. When they do hit the offline store, 47 percent end up spending more, $154 on average for additional products.
|Cross-Channel Shoppers Spend Billions Offline|
|Incremental in-store spending||$11,972|
|Source: Forrester Research|
"What surprised us the most was the additional spending of consumers [the $154 figure] once they are in the store," Charles P. Wilson quantitative associate at Forrester Research told ClickZ. "This stat shows how important customer retention across channels is. If retailers fail to do so, they not only lose the sale of the product researched online, but also the sale of these incremental goods. Right now, we see consumers switching retailers half the time when they switch channels, hardly an encouraging sign."
|Active Cross-Channel Shoppers are Younger |
and Wealthier Than Other Online Consumers
|Have Never |
|Less Than |
|5 or |
|Household income (US$)||$56,476||$58,818||$73,669|
|Married or partnered||72%||81%||77%|
|Has college degree||26%||28%||48%|
|Has broadband at home||21%||30%||43%|
|Made purchase online in |
the past three months
|Source: Forrester Research|
The cross-channel shopping demographic is comprised of wealthier, younger and more experience online consumers. This group earns 22 percent more than non cross-channel shoppers and is five years younger. Adoption levels for online purchasing are 75 percent higher for cross-channel shoppers than their one-channel counterparts, with 71 percent making an online purchase in the past three months.
Reasons cited by cross-channel shoppers for buying offline include, as 48 percent noted, they want to actually see the item before purchasing it. The least noted reason was the need to talk with a salesperson before buying, which only 16 percent gave as a reason for buying offline.
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