19th of October 2023

By Jarod Walter Marketing Scientist Ehrenberg-Bass Institute
Published by B&T See original article

Shoppers may have 99 problems but a channel fragmentation ain’t one

Should you invest money into building your brand’s presence within online channels? 

Many marketers would say “Yes, of course!”, championing the idea that online shopping will be the death of physical storefronts, which has only grown in popularity since the Covid-19 lockdowns. However, research from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute reveals that it’s not so cut-and-dry.

Professor Magda Nenycz-Thiel at the 2023 Mental and Physical Availability Summit showed that shoppers aren’t deserting brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, they are adding new channels to their existing repertoire of places to shop. And that’s even in categories which are ideal for online, like dog food where there’s the added inconvenience of having to transport the bulky bags home from the store.

Data collected over the peak of the pandemic (2019 – 2022) across various markets and categories revealed significant growth in revenue for online channels. However, most buyers that embraced online shopping still made purchases from offline channels, a finding observed all across the world, even within more digitally advanced countries like South Korea. In fact, the data showed that online channels grew much more by getting more new consumers to purchase from them at least once, than they did through getting a smaller group of consumers to allocate all their purchases to them.

What this finding suggests is that marketers should be embracing a forward-thinking approach to adopting new channels, from the perspective of an intelligent investor. 

How can you do this? First, remember that the aim of building physical availability is to make the brand easier for buyers to find and buy. View channel investments through that lens; for how many more people is this investment making it easier to find and buy your product.

Read the full article in B&T.


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