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Path to Purchase

Multi-Channel Sea Change

Posted On  December 4, 2014

Black Friday and its ramp up are over, and retailers may be seeing red with in-store sales down 11.3% from last year. E-tailers are rejoicing as online sales over the five-day shopping period that began on Thanksgiving jumped 12.6% year-over-year, with mobile sales climbing 27.2,% according to a report by IBM Digital Analytics . Not surprised?

Some more tidbits from this bell weather weekend. For the first time ever, mobile device shopping exceeded PC usage when people shopped online – and by a significant amount according to IBM. But that’s just looking, two-thirds of online sales are still happening on a personal computer. Brick and mortar behaviors have changed significantly as well – foot traffic is down, the use of the store as a showroom is up, and many consumers have mobile devices in hand to help them with their shop. If the distinction between shopping and buying – two very different actions – wasn’t clear before, it is now, but who knows for how long.

so what?®

Times continue to change and retailers and the brands that use them need to brace for the new realities of digital, social and mobile commerce.

  • We cannot rely on old data to understand the shopping journey – these behaviors are extremely fluid. Even data from last year will not accurately describe the shopper of today.
  • Shopping experiences are increasingly multi-channel; if your clients (internal or otherwise) ask you to look only at a particular channel; you are doing them a disservice. We must explain why exploring the multi-channel experience matters.
  • Demographics and psychographics are increasingly important. Even if you are only 30, people ten years younger than you, “shop” differently than you do. They “buy” differently, too.
  • People act reflexively, both in store and on device, and are often unaware of the fragmented and brief spurts of digital activity that play a role in their overall shopping patterns. Pushing them to deconstruct these experiences is then extremely important. We need to capture data across platforms. Reported behavior won’t work.

We all know our world is changing around us, every moment, every channel, every shopping season. It’s incumbent on us to recognize the high speed of change, and to ensure that we’re not hatching plans and strategies based on last year’s news.


  1. Sadly, per today’s WSJ, Della and DebShops — teen retailers both — learned these lessons too late and just filed for bankruptcy.


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