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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 30, 2007

Spoiled consumers demand cross-channel shopping

A new survey of U.S. consumers should serve as a wake-up call to online retailers who have yet to harmonize their on- and offline activities.

by Helen Leggatt

sterling%20commerce%20logo.jpgConsumers want a seamless buying experience across all channels, found a recent survey by Sterling Commerce. Most expect that websites and stores interact to give them the best of both worlds.

Among other things, over half (57 percent) wanted the ability to return or exchange items in-store, regardless of whether they purchased them online, by telephone or in another branch.

Other consumer expectations included the ability to check availability and pricing in stores on the Internet, being able to cancel or change an order via any channel and being informed of order fulfillment and dispatch.

Fifty-four percent of consumers found that they could buy products online that are not available in stores, and 40 percent liked the fact that products are usually in stock online.

Two-thirds of consumers found the ability to research multiple products online at the same time useful, and 45 percent felt that they could obtain better product information online than in a store.

"As retailers ramp up for the biggest shopping event of the year—the holidays—their readiness to address today's cross-channel customers' expectations could decide their success," said Jim Bengier, a global retail industry executive at Sterling Commerce, via eMarketer. "The cross-channel experience has created today's 'spoiled consumer,' and it raises the bar for every retailer.”

Tags: bricks-and-mortar, cross-channel, e-commerce, online shopping

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