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Etail Europe: Encourage shoppers to be multichannel to boost sales

The key to driving up sales is to ensure consumers are shopping in a multichannel way by getting online shoppers to visit stores and offline shoppers to use mobile devices, according to speakers at the Etail Europe conference.

Dave Jennings, head of ecommerce development at JD Williams, told delegates at the QE II Centre in London on June 23 that in the last year 62% of the retailer’s sales were online and of those 57% were made using a mobile device. He added that the value of shoppers using the full multichannel offer was double that of others.

“We are trying to optimise the experience across those different devices and join up the multichannel experience. We are looking at different ways to convert offline shoppers to online and online shoppers to true multichannel shoppers,” he said.

“Last year we identified online shoppers not shopping on mobile devices, so we tested it by offering them a loss-leading tablet. For those that shopped with the tablet, their spend with us went up 57%, which more than paid for the tablet.”

He added it was important not to isolate individual channels as they all support one another.

“If we have a TV advert, mobile traffic goes up 350%. They don’t necessarily convert that day, but it’s servicing that account.”

“We don’t look at budgets of individual channels, but we look at customer accounts and spend money on that segment of customers, so a campaign could involve different channels and different advertising types.”

Jon Asbury, multichannel director at lifestyle retailer Go Outdoors, said the company had refreshed its website at the end of last year and has seen a substantial uplift in conversion, with mobile traffic up 85% last week and conversion up 70%. He added that more than half of transactions are fulfilled in store, while two thirds of customers in store started their journey online.

“Our best customers are our multichannel customers. We are now trying to get our in-store shoppers to shop online by giving them vouchers to spend online.”

A Go Outdoors store manager in Loughborough also used social media to offer those attending the Download festival earlier this month a discount on waterproof jackets due to the bad weather if they showed their festival ticket in store.

He added: “You can’t rely on traditional KPIs; you need more and different metrics to measure the multichannel world. You can never be certain what is doing what. What goes on the homepage, something that converts online or drives footfall into stores? What’s often right for us is promoting things that drive footfall into stores.”

Alison Conway, vice president of client and omnichannel at premium brand Belstaff, said: “We looked at our top online spenders and offered them personal shopping in store and opportunities to meet the designers. Through our CRM we are looking at who shops where and actively engaging them to shop in different channels.”

She added that the number of customers that come in store and have researched online or have had emails from the brand has increased from 20% to around half in the last 12 months.

Meanwhile Kate Holt, group director of ecommerce at Jigsaw, said Google’s changes to its algorithms in April, prioritising mobile-optimised sites, seemed to have encouraged uptake on mobile devices.

She added that the premium retailer was now starting to look at the like-for-like performance of stores, taking into account the value of click-and-collect and web returns to identify their true influence.

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