European cross-channel retail forecast, 2015 to 2020
Research by Forrester has shown that digital touch points will influence over half of all European Retail Sales by 2020. Increasingly connected customers bring digital into their offline purchase decisions, which means that for every euro that consumers spend online, they will spend four Euros in physical stores based on the influence of those digital touch points Therefore it is essential for retailers to learn to understand how to use this digital presence across the customer life cycle to drive overall sales. The categories that will have more than half of total sales coming from cross-channel sales imply garden and home improvement, beauty an d cosmetics, jewelry and watches, footwear, and clothing
Cross-channel sales are sales where the purchase has been completed in a physical store following some level of online research pre-purchase. As long as the financial transaction and purchase of the goods is then completed in-store, the sale is classified as a cross-channel sale. Since about four years the relevance of cross-channel sales is growing when it comes to pushing online sales. It is estimated that 53% of total retail sales in Europe by 2020 will be influenced by digital touch points with the UK leading the market. This is due to the large proportion of multichannel retailers and prevalence of click-and collect in the UK. In comparison to Northern Europe the Southern European countries will bring up the rear with a smaller proportion of web-impacted sales. With regard to the smaller populations of online buyers and larger offline populations these countries will be much slower with developing a cross-channel network.
In order to efficiently use the multiple digital touch points to boost online sales, retailers need to be aware of the factors that play a part here. The habits of customers to research online pre-purchase with their Smart phones plays a pivotal role in this development. Consumers use increasingly use the internet in a universal way, which also reinforces their interconnectedness and susceptibility of products being presented online. Whether it is through social media or websites, the customer has an increasing and constant connection to the web. Therefore online product research sources have surpassed magazines, TV, and even physical stores for product discovery.
It is essential for retailers to stop focusing on their digital success on online sales alone as digital influences every stage of the customer journey. The implementation of digital assets can drive businesses in the long run. The key is to connect the different stages in the customer journey and create a seamless shopping experience. Especially mobile technology has the potential to connect digital and physical touch points. By building a location-based messaging strategy using beacons and push notifications to customers’ mobile devices connect digital and physical touch points. Using the potential of Big Data and integrating loyalty programs can make a significant difference. Many global retailers have used cross-channel to boost sales.