A recent report by eDigital Reseach and Portaltech Reply into the channels operated by UK retailers revealed some interesting stats, as well as some none of us would be quite so surprised at.

The survey was conducted across 143 retailers, and sought to identify the channels used by retailers, as well as gauging the level of integration between channels.

As our infographic shows, the percentage of retailers trading via an eCommerce store continues to rise, with 98% of respondents now trading online. No surprise there then. What may be surprising is that social media is still only used as a sales channel by 32% of retailers. Social media has long been seen as the ‘promised land’ for retail, however the majority of retailers are still yet to see the real returns from investment here, opting to see social as a brand awareness tool, rather than a sales channel.

2013 was the year of mobile, influencing £18 billion in retail sales. And as our infographic shows, saw the largest growth in investment from UK retailers. In just two years there was a 31% increase in the use of mobile as a sales channel.

Molbile growth

One of the most encouraging statistics from this research is the increase in retailers opting to operate high street stores. A 12% increase was evident since 2012. A stat which is possibly due to increased market confidence and stability, and the availability of finance to fund expansion. Operating via stores naturally allows retailers to have the ultimate touch point with customers. but it’s how these stores integrate with their online presence that’s becoming most important. 2013 also saw Retail Week describe order fulfilment as the new battleground between online retailers.

How retailers manage their order fulfilment across channels is becoming more and more complex. With the rise in click and collect popularity, retailers are increasingly moving towards a customer centric order fulfilment process. We’d be happy to share some advice on this, perhaps view our whitepapers on order fulfilment to learn more about how Spark can help drive multi channel retail.

Another perhaps surprising statistic is the growth of the call centre as a sales channel. As consumers have become more digitally driven, it would be a fair assumption that consumers require less input from a retail call centre. However, in true multi channel mode, many call centres now provide customer support via live chat, email, social media, and by telephone. The use of live chat was debated by eConsultancy recently, which identified that just 14% of retailers utilised the service. Spark Response provides multi channel contact centre solutions to brands including Toys R Us, Micro Scooters, BT and more. Contact us to find out more.

In summary, it’s clear that retail is moving towards complete integration between channels, with a ‘single view of the customer’ becoming the goal. In reality, it’s clear that goal is just out of reach for many retailers…. for now. Read the full report here.