Transforming the Multichannel Shopper: Heavyweights Wanted

Welcome to the second in a series of articles based on a newly released report, “Transforming the Multichannel Shopper,” prepared by global retail consultancy J.C. Williams Group in partnership with digital marketing services firm StartSampling and e-commerce consultancy the E-tailing Group. The report is based on data from a survey of 2,472 online and offline shoppers conducted this past April. To access part one of the series, “Getting Him to the Site,” click here.

The 1,972 online shoppers who participated in the multichannel shopping survey spent an average of $488 online during the six months prior to the survey. But as you might suspect, there was quite a spread in expenditures between “light” and “heavy” shoppers. Those dubbed light online shoppers spent an average of $222 on Web expenditures during the previous six months. The heavy shoppers spent more than four times as much: $977.

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You name the type of product, and the heavy shoppers far outspent the light and medium shoppers on it when purchasing via the Web. For instance, two-thirds of the heavy shoppers had purchased music, DVDs, and videos online, making it the most popular type of online purchase among that group, compared with 27% of the light shoppers. Nearly as many (66%) of the heavy shoppers had bought apparel and accessories online, compared with one quarter of the light shoppers. The most popular type of purchase among the light shoppers was books and magazines: 28% had made a purchase in the product category during the previous six months—as had 62% of the heavy buyers.

The least popular categories among the light online shoppers were appliances (3%), food and groceries (3%), and autos and auto accessories (4%). Heavy shoppers were also least likely to buy autos and auto accessories (14%) and appliances (14%). But they were more likely to buy food (24%) than sporting goods (20%).

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Heavy online shoppers vary from light Web shoppers not just in how much they spend online, but also in how they prefer to interact with multichannel gift registries. More than half (52%) of the heavy online shoppers preferred to handle all their registry dealings online—printing out the list of requested items and ordering the items online. Only 25% preferred a completely in-store experience. And even fewer—19%–printed the registry list out from the Website and then went to a store to complete the purchase.

Nearly one-third (32%) of the light online shoppers, however, preferred that sort of bichannel registry experience. And only 25% opted for interacting with the registry exclusively online. The plurality—42%—preferred to take care of the entire registry shopping experience in a store.

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