Company News • 31.10.2011

Multi-Channel – enormous competitive advantage in the retail

EuroCIS 2012 shows how it’s done!

From 28 February to 1 March 2012 the world of retail will come together in Düsseldorf for EuroCIS, The Leading Trade Fair for Retail Technology. Over 200 exhibitors from 20 countries will be presenting their latest retail-specific solutions in Düsseldorf. Well over 5,000 visitors from approximately 50 countries are expected. A new feature in 2012: the range of products and services at EuroCIS is being explicitly extended in the direction of Multi-Channel and E-Commerce solutions, because one thing is clear: nowadays customers are no longer shopping on a one-dimensional level but are using several shopping channels before they make their purchasing decision.

In this process, various sales and marketing channels serve various customers’ needs and requirements. Depending on whether the price, direct availability or the product experience are at the forefront, the consumers decide on a shopping channel. The question at the focal point of the study published by ECC Handel (E-Commerce-Center Handel) in cooperation with hybris GmbH entitled “From multi-channel to cross-channel - Consumer behaviour in transformation” is how the various channels influence each other in the process. To this end, more than 1,000 Internet users and a further 500 Smartphone users were surveyed on their information-gathering behaviour prior to making their most recent purchase from the over-the-counter retail, on the Internet and from a catalogue. The result: information-gathering is conducted on the Internet with one purchase in three from the over-the-counter retail. As people mainly inform themselves in advance on the Internet, particularly with higher quality and expensive products, this corresponds to over 60 per cent of total utility goods turnover in the over-the-counter retail sector. “From the customer's point of view sales and marketing channels do not exist next to one another, but are combined in any number of possible ways during the purchasing decision. In order to generate multi-channel purchasing impulses, retail companies must be aware of this behaviour”, said Dr. Kai Hudetz, Executive Director IfH Institut für Handelsforschung GmbH.

Catalogues as impulse-providers for online retail

While printed catalogues have declined in significance as an order-placing medium, they are experiencing a comeback as impulse-providers for online retail. The customers search for information in advance from catalogues with almost one in three purchases from online shops. In many households catalogues are always within easy reach and provide purchasing impulses. The printed catalogue continues to be of major significance for distance retail.

Smartphones as the link between the sales and marketing channels

The Smartphone is the constant companion of the consumers, who thanks to mobile services, are in a position to inform themselves online during every stage of the purchasing decision-making process. Around 50 per cent of those surveyed stated that they had obtained mobile information prior to visiting the store and, in addition, 35.6 per cent also use their mobile phone during their visit to the over-the-counter retail. In particular, so-called Early Adopters, Smartphone users below the age of 30, are making use of this facility. Retailers are particularly fearful of losing customers through price-comparison sites. In contrast, the study reveals that mobile phones provide key purchasing impulses for the over-the-counter retail. In 18.1 per cent of purchases made by the Early Adopters from over-the-counter retail outlets, the customers had previously searched for information on the suppliers’ websites or used apps on their Smartphone. “Retailers, who gear themselves to the customers’ information requirements, and for example provide valuable additional information online via a barcode scanner, can use the purchasing impulses generated by mobile phones to their own advantage”, is the advice given by Hudetz.

The conclusion reached by the study: sensibly linked multi-channel sales and marketing are becoming a decisive advantage in the competition for customers and thus a necessary business success factor - particularly also as far as the over-the-counter retail is concerned. On the corporate side, this situation particularly requires a rethink in terms of success control for individual sales and marketing channels.

At EuroCIS 2012 the visitors can obtain detailed information from the exhibiting companies about Multi-Channel Retail solutions. For example Martin Timmann, Executive Director and Vice-President Central Europe at Torex, is announcing: “One of our main focal points at EuroCIS 2012 will be a solution, which enables retailers to seamlessly combine their Multi-Channel activities with Cross-Channel Management. An order placed by the customer can thus be controlled and tracked from the enquiry to product collection or delivery to the customer across all the channels. Regardless of whether the customer makes a purchase in store, from the online shop or using M-Commerce, sales can be analyzed on a multi-channel basis and evaluated in a channel-specific approach.”

In addition, the trade visitors to EuroCIS will receive key strategic tips at the admission-free Multi-Channel-Retail Forum organized by ECC Handel on 28 and 29 February. EuroCIS 2012 in Hall 9 at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre is open to trade visitors from Tuesday 28 February 2012 until Thursday 1 March 2012, daily from 10:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs. Day tickets are Euro 22.00 (Euro 15.00 online in advance) and two-day tickets Euro 38 (EUR 27 online in advance). Students and trainees pay Euro 10.00. Each admission ticket includes free transport to and from the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre on local Rhine-Ruhr Transport Authority (VRR) buses, trams and trains. Further details on EuroCIS are available on the internet at: www.eurocis.com.

The study entitled “From multi-channel to cross-channel – Consumer behaviour in transformation” can be obtained from the ECC Handel shop at: www.ecc-handel.de.

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