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DES GB2012 E

purchase products straight away. In a multi-channel shopping world, it is therefore crucial for in-store retailers to identify the buying motives of customers that are more important than price, rather than trying to compete on price with the cheapest online supplier. In-store retailing is also a long way off from serving solely as a showroom for online merchandisers. On the contrary, purchases that customers decide upon online but make in a bricks-and- mortar store generate eleven times more revenue than the other way round. “Showrooming” does not therefore pose a threat to in-store shopping, but represents an opportunity for retailers to stay one step ahead of the competition. Take the example of high- tech companies like Apple which rely fully on the Internet but are now opening large flagship stores in key centers. Another surprising finding: even among the young “digital native” generation, which has grown up with the Internet, there is a large group of consumers who do all their shopping in traditional shops, even though this customer group spends several hours a day on the Internet. For them it is the emotional experience when shopping that they value most and, above all, being able to share the experience with friends. To sum up the results of the study: in-store retailing in Germany can meet those customer needs which online retailing is not yet able to meet or will never be able to meet. However, retailers need to gain a better understanding of the desires and buying needs of their customers so they can adapt their offerings accor- dingly. A useful approach is to adopt a multichannel strategy, where the online and offline worlds are sensibly combined. To tap the potential of the Internet, it is not always necessary to open an online shop. For many customers, the ability to check online to see if an item is available in the offline store can be a strong incentive to visit the shop. The future thus lies in intelligently combining digital channels with bricks-and-mortar retailing. o get to the bottom of these ques- tions, Roland Berger Strategy Con- sultants and the ECE conducted a com- prehensive study, in which they polled around 42,000 consumers throughout Germany about their shopping habits. In addition, nearly 2,000 study participants kept a personal diary of their shopping activities over a period of a month, detai- ling on how much they spent, when each purchase was made, the product category that the item belonged to and the sales channel used. The analysis of all the data revealed some surprising findings. For example, the share of online retailing is much hig- her than had previously been assumed, with seven per cent of online purchases generating 16 per cent of total retail sales – and trending upwards. But for bricks- and-mortar stores there is absolutely no reason why they should have to throw in the towel in the face of online com- petition; for the simple reason that two thirds of consumers regularly shop in off- line stores, shopping every two weeks and mostly in high street shops or shopping centers. By contrast, only 13 per cent of consumers regularly shop online. These figures are testimony to the continu- ing importance to consumers of in-store shopping. They also show that besides shopping frequency the share of impulse purchases is significantly higher than is the case with online shopping. This a key competitive advantage in a world where the needs of customers for the large part have to be awakened before they can be satisfied. Another notable finding is that price is not the key determinant where choice of retail channel is concerned. Tradi- tional retailing scores higher when it comes to providing on-the-spot per- sonalised advice and information and enabling customers to view, try out and 7 Further information The study “What the customer really wants” can be downloaded free of charge at: T SHOPPING What the customer really wants { 33 } DES ANNUAL REPORT 2012