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It’s no surprise that the adoption of multichannel shopping behavior by consumers has risen during the pandemic. In both the US and Europe there was rapid adoption and growth in online purchases and in-store pick up services, partly because many retailers quickly introduced services such as curbside collection during lockdown (especially within the food and restaurant industry).

During the pandemic in the US, the best online sales growth rates were achieved by more traditional retailers like Walmart and Target by employing multichannel services, many of whom are now growing at a faster rate than online focused retailers such as Amazon (GlobalData).

E-commerce and online shopping platforms have seen rapid growth during the pandemic, rising by over 31% in just three months (U.S. Census Bureau), and shoppers are frequently using multiple online channels before making a purchase.

Rapidly Changing Consumer Behaviours in Both Online Channels and Physical Stores

Multichannel retailers found their sector constantly changing, especially during the uncertainty of last minute lockdowns and quick changes in consumer shopping habits. Therefore, staying agile, responsive to change, and creating an easy seamless shopping experience are vital for success.

Online and offline shopping channels are no longer considered separate, as consumers simultaneously shop across channels. Whether they buy online or in store, typical consumer behavior now involves interacting with many touch points before making a purchase, expecting each interaction to be seamless.

In the US, over the course of 2020, the online non food spend supported by physical stores rose by 2.6%. Almost three quarters of consumers said that not being able to visit stores during the height of the pandemic reduced the overall amount of money they spent on non-food. (GlobalData). However, e-commerce had massive growth and over half of consumers said they expect to do more online shopping after the pandemic than they did prior (Salesforce Survey). Online shopping is clearly on the rise, but don’t discount the in store experience and the role physical retail stores have to play alongside their online counterparts.

The Challenge of Consistency Across Platforms

Many retailers quickly adapted to the “new normal” by bolstering their digital presence and embracing new platforms. The challenge for many retailers now is staying consistent across these channels and effectively implementing multichannel marketing along with multichannel retail. This can seem daunting, but having a skilled team of experts ready to project-manage with enthusiasm and scale using innovative technology will make the process fast, effective and straightforward.

With this need to have an active range of multichannel services, as well as ensuring in store services remain consistent and effective, many brands and agencies are now partnering with an offshore company for all their multichannel retail marketing needs, such as We Are Amnet

The switch to remote work during the COVID 19 pandemic acted as a proof of concept for what can be achieved simply using the internet for communication. It gave retail marketers the confidence to take advantage of the cheaper prices, exceptional quality, and faster turnaround times that are on offer from offshoring. 

Taking Shape: Future Multichannel Retail Trends

During the COVID-19 pandemic, both large and small retailers reported a correlation between traditional advertising, such as off-the-page ads, and an increase in online sales. So, even though there has been an increase in online channel growth rates (shoppers using digital platforms and ordering through e-commerce sites), don’t discount offline channels and traditional print media outlets either. Direct mail, paid search, influencer marketing and social media marketing all continued to grow (IMRG), meaning a true multichannel approach is the best business model in a post-COVID world.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to fully optimize your e-commerce website. Adobe projected that of the overall online holiday spend (Nov 1 – Dec 31) in the US for 2020, 42% of purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic were to be made on smartphones. This was an increase of $28.1 billion over 2019 for the online spend. Not only that, but holiday spend in the U.S. was projected to reach $189 billion throughout the 2020 holiday season — a 33% year-over-year increase. (AdWeek).

Consumers expect a unified shopping experience across streamlined platforms, using multiple devices as well as shopping in store. It’s not enough just to look visually unified with the same tone of voice and visuals. Shoppers details should be saved across platforms; one of the key findings as to why customers are abandoning their shopping carts in the US is because of having to re-enter their address or credit card information (Statistica).

Multichannel Services from We Are Amnet

We Are Amnet has been working with brand and agency partners for over two decades, managing their creative production needs for multi-channel campaigns, localization, as well as website and app development.

If you’re looking to deliver unmatched creative production services, whether it’s for your global advertising campaigns, Out of Home (OOH) advertising, digital, print or retail PoS, We Are Amnet can fully support you, provide expertise for your mass-market or personalised communications, and help you stay ahead in the market — whatever the world throws at you next.

Get in touch today.

Saskia Johnson

Author Saskia Johnson

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