Increased online and mobile penetration, improved technical capabilities and growing demand of consumers worldwide for greater shopping convenience has led to the emergence of the omnichannel trend in retail, according to the new report by Hamburg-based business intelligence company yStats.com “Omnichannel Trend in Global B2C E-Commerce and General Retail 2015”. Phenomena such as showrooming, webrooming, mobile browsing in-store and click-and-collect are blurring the boundaries between B2C E-Commerce and physical-space retail.
The two major phenomena that have been softening the line between B2C E-Commerce and physical shopping experience in retail in the recent years are showrooming and webrooming. Over a half of consumers with Internet access researched products in-store before buying them online in 2014, while an even larger share searched for information online and then purchased an item in-store.
The increasing use of mobile Internet devices in physical stores is another important factor in omnichannel: shoppers use their mobile phones to compare prices online while shopping in-store, and close to a quarter of consumers surveyed last year made purchases via applications and websites on their phones while in store.
The signs of the omnichannel trend are penetrating worldwide. South Korea and China were the worldwide leaders among selected emerging and advanced markets in terms of showrooming, while Canada and India had a substantial share of consumers engaging in webrooming. In the UK, the click-and-collect option is gaining strength, while in Russia the self-pick-up option is used in the majority of online purchases. In Germany, more than two-thirds of young tech-savvy consumers believed that the option to order online and return an item in-store was essential, while in the USA a significant share of consumers found that promotions offered online are not available in-store.
Both online and store-based retailers worldwide are adapting to the ominichannel trend. The major US retailer Wal-Mart uses its vast store chain presence to offer omnichannel options such as ship-from-store and pick-up and pay-with-cash in-store for items ordered online. Meanwhile, online pure-plays are advancing on the physical space. Groupon and eBay experimented with pop-up stores for the Christmas shopping season in Australia, and Amazon opened its first staffed pick-up and drop-off location on a university campus in the USA in 2015.