Study Shows Consumers Primed for Omni-Channel Approach but Companies Struggling to Execute

Dec 15, 2015

New research by consumer analysis and data marketing specialist GI Insight shows that, while an omni-channel approach by shoppers is becoming the norm in the United Kingdom, the vast majority of companies are failing to connect with customers seamlessly across multiple touch-points. The report also points to the growing importance of tying real-time online interactions to existing consumer relationships - and the need to use customer data to do so.

The survey of 1,000 UK consumers reveals many consumers take an approach to shopping that involves multiple channels, as 71% of customer journeys today begin online while 18% start with a visit to a shop. They often end elsewhere, however, with 42% typically buying via the web and 31%" purchasing in a shop, leaving roughly a quarter who don't see themselves as having any one "usual" purchasing channel at all - indicating the buying journey of a UK shopper is often a complex one that involves more than one medium.

The research report, entitled The Omni-channel Imperative, also reveals that UK consumers would be heavily influenced by follow-up communications from brands in response to web browsing - which are often sent in real time-as 78% say a personalized message following a website visit would make them more likely to buy. However, 43% stipulate they would only do so if they had a prior relationship with that brand such as membership in a loyalty scheme.

Nonetheless, according to the findings, few companies are successfully executing an omni-channel marketing strategy - i.e. a true customer-centric approach that involves seamless contact across disparate channels. The research indicates too few consumers either receive or respond to coordinated interactions across multiple touch-points, as only a small proportion reported that contact via combinations of channels led to a purchase in the last six months:

  • 13%visited awebsiteand were then sent anemailoffer
  • 7%responded to an offer through thepostfollowed by anemailreminder
  • 6%visited awebsiteandthen received an offer through thepost
  • 6% got an email offer followed by a reminder text

The good news for omni-channel marketers is they have had better success with the digitally-active 25-34 age group, as a higher percentage purchased after being contacted across multiple channels:

  • 18%when awebsitevisit was followed by anemailoffer
  • 14%when awebsitevisit was followed by an offer through thepost
  • 14%when anemailoffer was followed by atext
  • 13%when an offer through thepostwas followed by anemail