Browsing Catalogs and Buying Online With Cross-Channel Shopping

By April 08, 2010

Digital channels open up many choices for purchase-minded consumers. Findings from Art Technology Group's March 2010 "Cross Channel Commerce: The Consumer View" survey show that a vast majority of respondents use multiple sources

to research or purchase products. More than three-quarters of consumers use two or more channels, and nearly one-third use three or more.

Easy Internet or convenient mobile devices are used for research, followed with a store visit to "touch and feel the product." But consumers also go to the store because they "wanted to compare several brands of the same product," or "the merchant 'didn't have all the product/service information I needed to buy online." The ATG report suggests this reveals the need for online and mobile channels to provide better information and innovation.

Mobile commerce is very important for cross-channel shoppers, especially with youth. While 27 percent of consumers browse products on their mobile devices, nearly thirteen percent make purchases on them. For those in the 18-34 age group, the numbers are higher. 41 percent of the younger group browse or research products and services at least four times a year, and 23 percent make mobile-based purchases quarterly.

Catalogs perform well in the cross-channel experience, but only as a discovery tool. Retailers are making smaller catalogs and using them to remind customers to visit their Web site. 78 percent of consumers use catalogs to browse and discover products, and 41 percent never purchase from catalogs.

With similar performance to mobile, social marketing is still making its place known as a marketing channel. More frequent among younger users, other consumers may not yet be aware that social tech can be integrated into their online commerce experience. 24 percent of all consumers incorporate online purchasing into their social networking presence. By age group, that breaks down to 42 percent of 18-34 year olds, 23 percent of 35-54 year year olds, and eight percent over 55 doing this.

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