E-Retail & Cross-Channel Retailing Grow

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Year-over-year ecommerce retail sales rose 28.1% in the first quarter of 2004 to $15.52 billion according to the Department of Commerce. That increase was the second greatest quarterly, year-over-year increase since Q1 of 2001. Ecommerce sales were 1.8% of total retail sales in 2003.

Relying on variety of sources, The e-Tailing Group, reports that 51% of consumers are now regular online shoppers, making purchases across an average of eight categories. On a related issue Forrester states in a $249-report that 11% of online consumers now buy on line and then pickup in stores.

It’s a statement of the obvious, but look for online sales to continue to grow as a percentage of overall retail sales, and look for that growth to accelerate. What might not be quite so obvious is the trend toward online shopping and in-store pickup. This cross-channel shopping will lead to more cross-channel merchandising. Companies like Staples and Barnes & Noble have been leaders in using the Web to support in-store merchandising. The result has been increased store traffic and larger sales. Smaller businesses will begin to take advantage of cross-channel merchandising as their technological sophistication and acceptance grow, creating an opportunity for consultants and service firms in this area.

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