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According to a survey of 120 retail enterprises taken by Aberdeen between December 2008 and January 2009 to determine the current state of multi-channel retailing, the implementation of digital and mobile channels continues to grow. Aberdeen data reveals that 58% of retailers surveyed have had a multi-channel initiative in place for at least one year. Best-in-Class companies are 1.5 times as likely as Industry Average and Laggard companies to have implemented these initiatives in that time.
Aberdeen data shows that continued evolution in customer content consumption habits and channel affinity is dictating new digital and multi-channel retail initiatives. The high-touch and high-involvement shopping environments such as consumer electronics, apparel, luxury, department stores, and other specialty segments are ideal entrants in this shift towards "a digital customer."
A third of Best-in-Class retailers are also developing programs for new channels, such as the mobile channel, at a higher level than Industry Average and Laggard companies. "Despite the fact that such programs have so far had greater success and scalability in some Asia-Pacific and European Union countries, the emergence of new retail channels such as mobile does enable the retailer's ability to serve an untapped customer base or buying affinity of existing customers," says Sahir Anand, senior analyst and chief author of the digital and multi-channel retailing report.
The multi-channel retailing experience continues to grow as consumers needs and wants change. Last year's multi-channel report indicated that the top pressure facing retailers was the need to increase cross-channel shopping. This year, there has been a shift in pressures, with the number one pressure being the need to address rapid changes in customer needs and preferences for sales channels. While this pressure is uniform across all retailers, 61% of Best-in-Class retailers are feeling the pressure more so. The top strategic action being undertaken by Best-in-Class retailers for multi-channel deployment is to create product offers and services for all channels of operations (52%). These companies are 50% more likely than Industry Average and Laggards to create these offers and services across all channels. This enables the multi-channel brand to acquire a unified look, feel, and experience for customers. "In 2008, Best-in-Class retailers were 1.5 times more likely than Laggards to adopt company hosted blogs with reviews, rich media product presentations, social media monitoring, social networking tools, customer feedback, and user-generated content. The rapid evolution in customer buying behavior has meant that retailers are compelled to make adjustments of content, pricing, marketing, and media spend," says Anand.
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