How to Join the Dots of Multi-Channel Shopping

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How to Join the Dots of Multi-Channel Shopping

It’s accepted common knowledge that the internet has had a negative impact on the performance of brick and mortar stores. A new report from the University of Southampton, however, claims that this doesn’t need to be the case. The two shopping formats can co-exist, but they currently aren’t.

The report explains that the advantages of online shopping have changed what shoppers want from brick and mortar stores – it’s now more about the shopping experience than the simple need to shop. It goes on to say that such stores need to invest in an enhanced shopping experience to survive.

The report also details the rise of the convenience culture. It states that: “An evolving ‘convenience culture’ in combination with increasing levels of internet retail are together creating structural changes in the way people shop”

On the subject of Multi-channel shopping, the report reveals that, some retailers are finding it hard to keep up with this modern behaviour but that this does not suggest the ‘death of physical space’. Rather, it points towards the need for significant changes in the way physical stores operate.

“In the light of new technology trends, retailers should focus on people and not on devices. It’s about using technology to return to understanding the consumer and offering personalised service.”

It goes on to say: “Forecasts for 2019 suggest that the convenience store grocery sector will account for almost a quarter of total UK grocery sales; conversely, the once dominant ‘superstores & hypermarkets’ sector market share is set to collapse.”

The report concludes by saying that the “experiential” side of shopping heightens enjoyment and increases the amount of time and money spent in a store.

In summary, online and bricks and mortar channels are NOT the same and shouldn’t be treated as such. What’s more, the Internet supports rather than replaces bricks and mortar retail with online by providing shoppers with a more convenient means of buying the same thing again. Whereas bricks and mortar is better suited to introducing shoppers to new brands and products by way of a physical shopping ‘experience’.

The data behind the report suggests that multi-channel retail is currently far from ideal and is failing to protect physical retail outlets. It appears that too many decision makers are attempting to force this rapidly evolving shopping behaviour into their existing strategies. Instead, they should be focusing on creating a new, multi-channel shopper oriented business model.

Our ongoing study of the similarities and differences between online and traditional bricks and mortar shopping is also very revealing. It has shed new light onto the facts and fiction relating to this modern retail phenomenon of multi-channel. One thing we have discovered for sure, is that when it comes identifying today’s shopper needs, it’s no good regurgitating yesterday’s shopper research.

To find out more about multi-channel shopping and how bricks and mortar stores can co-exist, talk to our experts on 01543 255 259 or email