Offline businesses see faster Internet growth than online businesses

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The British Retail Consortium has published its first Online Retail Monitor report today, showing a dramatic increase in mobile retail searches. Mobile search grew 181% in the first three months of the year and now accounts for 11% of all retail searches. This tallies with eBay’s commitment to mobile technology and the importance the place on mobile for the future.

What’s more interesting is the discrepancy between the growth of retail searches, which grew fastest for multi-channel retailers (usually those using stores and the internet). They saw a rise of 42% year-on-year, compared with 19% for pure online retailers, which demonstrates the value of a multi-channel offering.

Conventional wisdom suggests that an online business is more agile than an offline business and should be able to grow faster, but the report suggests this isn’t necessarily true.

Keith Bird CEO of eSellerPro emphasised that to match multi-channel retailers impressive growth figures, online-only retailers need to mirror this diversified approach and ensure they are easily accessible across a multitude of shopping platforms such as eBay, Amazon or Play.com. Ultimately, this is about consumer choice so where they go online dictates where online retailers need to be.

It would appear that whilst the high street is in decline it’s far from dead, and high street retailers are still able to compete with online retailers. In fact they have some distinct advantages such as “Order online, pick up in store”, which is becoming a favourite for impatient shoppers.

According to Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General, online is the fastest growing part of retailing and the star performer is mobile. The surprising conclusion is that offline retailers are starting to leverage the Internet to grow their businesses faster than online retailers.

Online retailers need will need to work even harder to match the growth that comes from a bricks and mortar business combined with the Internet by utilising every channel available. Cross border trade will also continue to be a key diversification contributing to online business success.

One Response

  1. I think the main reason for the rise in Bricks and Mortar sales is because most of these big retailers are heavily discounting everything to get shoppers through the doors and part with their cash. When they put there prices back to normal their sales will go down again.

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