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7 characteristics of the multichannel consumer

Emili Alsina, Director, Ediciones Just

  • Key4Communications
18/03/2013

More and more we hear the word "multichannel" referred to consumers. People sometimes confuse the meaning of this new behaviour and simply think that consumers are increasingly buying online, leaving aside brick-and-mortar retailers. But that's not so.

1. The multichannel consumer does not care where to purchase. This means that they can collect information either online or offline, and buy in either channel according to their priorities.

2. Consumers are not only concerned about price. If a product is very large, for example, they may choose to purchase online even though the more expensive shipping costs, giving priority to comfort. Buyers can also give more importance to personal advice, to the ease of finding parts and repairs, and of course to the trust offered by the retailer.

3. The consumer does not use the physical store only as a showcase. In fact, buyers still trust traditional stores more, and these remain the centre of the shopping experience.

4. It must also be borne in mind that consumers do not go to stores only to do their shopping, as shopping is part of their leisure. This also means that even in the case of consumers who shop online regularly, brick-and-mortar retailers still have an advantage.

5. Moreover, studies suggest that the multichannel consumer spending is not shifting from traditional retailers to online stores, as spending is in fact growing across all channels. This is an opportunity for retailers who also count with an online store.

6. Consumers increasingly view prices and reviews using their smartphones at the stores. The barriers between an online and an offline shopping experience are blurring.

7. Consumers expect an integrated shopping experience. They appreciate the advantages of a store with online and offline services, so they can read information about the product before going to the store or save the shipping costs by picking up the product at the shop, for example.

In short, multichannel consumers want to buy when and where they find it appropriate according to their priorities: price, convenience, to have the product in their hands as soon as possible... And they see fewer barriers and differences between one channel and another. Hence the importance of an integrated shopping experience: consumers expect from the physical store the supply and flexibility of the online channel and also want an online shopping experience as satisfying and reliable as if they had the product in their own hands.

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