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Stores remain cornerstone of retailers' multi-channel propositions

Despite the continued growth in online sales the physical store is still extremely valuable as part of the multi-channel proposition, according to recent research from Sterling Commerce.

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Stores remain cornerstone of retailers' multi-channel propositions

Despite the continued growth in online sales the physical store is still extremely valuable as part of the multi-channel proposition, according to recent research from Sterling Commerce.

Its annual research into consumer behaviour across retail channels within Europe found that the store remains the key to customer satisfaction and can play a role in increasing sales. It found that considerable revenue opportunities lie in offering the ability to order out-of-stock products, with 72 per cent of respondents stating that it was vital or useful for in-store staff to be able to order out-of-stock products and have them delivered to their home or local store.


David Hogg, packaged goods (CPG) marketing manager in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for Sterling Commerce, says: “With promotions increasing in frequency to encourage consumers to continue spending, retailers are experiencing out-of-stocks more frequently. However, cross-channel customers are much more comfortable with the idea of the store ordering products currently out-of-stock rather than walking away empty handed to a competitor's store.


The research also highlighted additional opportunities for retailers to draw their customers into their stores. For instance, almost half of online shoppers want to collect or return an item at a local store. And, when shopping online, 16 per cent of consumers across all countries choose to ‘click and collect’. This result was highest amongst the clothing sector, with an average of 24 per cent wanting online orders to be delivered to the store where customers can collect them at their convenience.
The research also revealed that a third of consumers who choose to buy online stated that it is either vital or useful to be able to return any unwanted or faulty items in-store, where they are likely to go on to make replacement purchases.


“Although most retailers now offer a multi-channel platform to consumers, it’s important to be aware of all trends in cross channel purchasing and returns. We are seeing a trend towards online shopping, but revenue opportunities still lie within the store, as in-store staff can convert returns into in-store purchases rather than a refund, or order replacement items that appear out-of-stock online,” says Hogg.

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