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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : April 04, 2018

Survey finds digital, traditional shopping inextricably linked

While more shoppers are, indeed, buying products online, that hasn't diminished trips to the local mall or calls to local merchants. In fact, according to new data out from the National Retail Federation and Forrester, digital has become merely another touchpoint, underlining the importance of customer service and communication between brands or merchants and consumers.

by Kristina Knight

According to the report about one-third (32%) of merchants surveyed were only online retailers, but nearly two-thirds (57%) were multichannel merchants, having both online and brick-and-mortar storefronts. And, nearly half of those merchants expect to increase the number of traditional storefronts operated over the next year.

That expansion is because merchants are finding that consumers, especially those buying online, want their merchandise faster. Nearly half (42%) believe faster delivery is or should be a top priority. Having additional brick-and-mortar storefronts or distribution centers makes it simpler for brands and merchants to ship quickly and efficiently, shortening the wait time between ordering online and having the products on-hand.

Other priorities for retailers include personalizing the shopping experience, increasing the use of tech in-store to assist shoppers, and improving the in-store experience.

"More brands plan to open stores versus close them this year, which proves that the physical retail store is not doomed as many think it is," Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Sucharita Kodali said. "Smart retailers understand that the two go hand-in-hand, but customer-obsessed retailers will continue investing in areas like omnichannel to provide customers with the seamless on and offline experiences they expect and now require. This year's survey proved that while they have work to do in 2018, retailers are moving in the right direction."

Other interesting findings from the report include:

• Mobile sales are growing at a 36% YoY rate
• Desktop sales are 2x higher than mobile sales
• 62% of merchants surveyed say they've increased the number of repeat customers
• 57% report average order values have increased

"This report shows more than ever that retail is retail regardless of where a sale is made or how the product is delivered," NRF Vice President for Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews said. "Products ordered online are increasingly picked up in-store or shipped from a nearby store, and digital technology being used at bricks-and-mortar locations lets retailers help customers find what they want or make the sale even if the product is out of stock. Traditional retailers have seen the opportunities of online selling for years now, and those selling online increasingly see that stores are part of the key to success."

Access to the full NRF survey an be found here

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce trends, Forrester Research, NRF, retail trends

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