Regardless of whether you call it omni-channel, cross-channel or multi-channel shopping, there is no doubt that consumers’ path-to-purchase has changed dramatically over the last few years.It’s no surprise that more and more people are now shopping online instead of going to a brick and mortar store. However, a recent study from CFI Group and eBay Enterprise says that 95% of consumers “frequently or occasionally shop” a retailer’s web site AND physical store. The report also found that 82% of all consumers surveyed said they consider it “important” to be able to place an order from a retailer’s e-commerce site while inside that merchant’s store.Some other interesting study findings were:
<ul><li>93% of respondents want the option to return items bought online to local stores</li>
<li>78% want in-store pickup of online orders</li>
<li>56% will keep shopping with a particular retailer as long as they offer the best price - whether in-store or online</li>
If accurate, these findings have major implications for both CPGs and marketers. For retailers, it means changing their business model to make it easy to order items from their website while shopping in their stores. For MarCom Pros, it means marketing to consumers in more targeted and innovative ways.Some retailers are already moving in that direction. The Gap recently said it will give consumers the ability to order items online while in their stores, and the company told Wall Street Analyst that it is taking further steps to bind its store-, web- and mobile-based retail initiatives. Gap’s online sales increased 21.5% year-over-year in fiscal 2013.According to Internet Retailer magazine, about 30% of the retail chains in the Top 500 allow customers to buy online and pickup in-store. Another important aspect of more online sales is that some retailers can reduce the size of their physical stores. The Gap, for example, managed nearly 8% fewer square feet of retail space in the US in 2013. These findings also mean that marketers need to change their strategies and business models of influencing the omni-channel marketer. It’s not enough anymore to have innovative mobile marketing, social media, advertising and PR programs. These programs now need to work seamlessly across all channels.There is an interesting conference onMarketing to the Omni-Channel Shopper taking place in New York the first week in June. It will feature CMOs from the top brands sharing their success stories on how they are bridging the bricks and clicks gap. I know I’ll be there.