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Retailers Look To Online and Multi-channel Success

06 April 2010 - 09:58 by Sarah Collinson

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Major players in the UK retail sector are further committing to online channels, according to new findings from global investment bank Jefferies & Co. And this can only be good news for those with an interest in safe shopping online, as retailers, buoyed by the levels of internet-driven spending in the UK, turn away from shrinking offline channels and increase investment in e-retail.

The UK has a fairly strong track record, with consistent growth in the number of consumers enjoying safe shopping online over the last decade. Online retail spending actually accounts for some 10% of total UK retail spend, not including groceries, meaning that the UK is now one of the largest e-retail markets globally. In market share terms, the UK e-retail sector even eclipses that of the equivalent sectors in the US, where online retail spending represents only roughly four or five per cent of total retail spend. Loosely translated, UK consumers spend three times as much as their US counterparts online.

Jefferies & Co also noted a number of other significant trends in UK online retail whilst examining the state of the market. They found that multi-channel shopping is increasing in its impact, with consumers no longer solely driven by the traditional forms of advertising media such as television. Instead, consumer influences are everywhere, with ever more purchasing decisions influenced by multiple channels which may include text messaging, gaming and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Marketers working on behalf of retailers need to adapt to ensure consumers are being reached as they move between channels. Jefferies & Co noted that major brand names in the UK, such as John Lewis, seemed to be effectively adapting to this multi-channel approach. Particularly important among the new channels to emerge are those driven by social networking sites, which can help to drive consumers to retailer's websites and to foster consumer brand loyalty.