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Cross-channel will account for 44% of retail sales by 2018

The number of cross-channel consumers will increase in the future. By 2018, about 44% of in-store sales will have been influenced by the internet. In the next few years, more people will research products at home or in the store using a sales assistant’s tablet or their own mobile device before they decide to buy something in store.

This is the prediction of Forrester’s European Cross-Channel Retail Sales Forecast 2013 to 2018, as Internet Retailing writes. It also states that already, cross-channel sales are more lucrative than online-only sales, as for every euro that’s spent online, five euros is spent in-store following online research.

The UK, France and Germany drive cross-channel sales
According to the Forrester research, cross-channel sales accounted for 539 billion euros in 2013. This corresponds to 31% of total European retail sales. But cross-channel sales will increase to 920 billion euros, or 44% of total sales, by 2018. And it may not come as a surprise that the success of cross-channel is mostly thanks to the three biggest ecommerce countries in Europe: the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Together, they currently account for almost three-fourths of all cross-channel sales in Europe. And in four years, the most important cross-channel product categories will be household appliances, toys, electronics, computers and sports equipments, the report suggests.

Take advantage of the mobile moments
Internet Retailing writes that Forrester recommends retailers to start embracing so called ‘frenemies’ like Amazon. For example, retailers should advertise to gain exposure and they should engage with online consumer ratings and reviews in-store by offering wifi. Report author Michelle Beeson states that smartphones give shoppers “a personalized and connected shopping aide in multiple contexts along the path to purchase” and that’s why retailers need to ”optimize their customer journey to take advantage of the ‘mobile moments’ in which a customer needs service or information and uses his mobile device to obtain them.” As an example she refers to Barcoo, which is a German product information site that also offers an mobile app that gives consumers the opportunity to scan product bar codes and access independent product information.

O2’s report called ‘The Future of Retail‘ suggests that by 2020, three quarters of UK consumers will go to the high street for inspiration, influencing 89% of all retail sales by that date. The study also suggests that without stores, online sales would fall by as much as 63 billion euros. Already 85% of online shoppers in the UK return products to physical stores, while 75% collect items they bought online from a local store. By 2020 some 7% of all retail sales will be made through click and collect services, O2’s report predicts.