New research by Telstra shows up to 89 per cent of online shoppers in certain sectors purchase goods in-store, over a third of which do so from the same retailer.

Interviews with more than 800 respondents were conducted for the first time to help define the behaviour of ‘omni-shoppers’ – consumers researching and purchasing goods using a variety of channels like websites, mobile apps and traditional stores.

The study shows the increasing potential of the omni-shopper in Australia, with more than a third of respondents admitting to buying both online and in-store over the past 12 months from the same retailer. This demonstrates the importance for retailers to have both a traditional retail experience combined with a strong online presence.

“Australian omni-shoppers indisputably exist today, driven by our adoption of the internet and popularity of mobile devices. It’s an enormous opportunity for retailers that, while two-thirds of people are using the internet to shop, they are also combining this with an in-store experience,” Gareth Jude, retail industry executive, Telstra Enterprise and Government, said.

The Telstra whitepaper, ‘How you can join the Omnichannel Shopper in transforming Australian retail’, also found 69 per cent of Australian online shoppers spend their money with Australian retailers – so the online dollars stay here in Australia – they’re not necessarily going overseas.

“We’ve found that each consumer spends on average more than $2,000 every year, and is increasingly looking for a blended online/offline experience. Australian retailers have to blend the price and convenience of online shopping with the sensory experience and customer service from physically being in a store,” Jude said.

“We believe the key lessons to consider are that physical shopping no longer ends when the customer walks out of the door. The foundations of the customer experience are now built as much on technology as on physical displays, meaning retailers must carefully choose the technical platforms and partners they work with.”

Additionally, the online consumer is overwhelmingly an omnishopper, the most popular products being clothing and accessories with 89 per cent of online buyers also shopping in store. The least popular omnichannel product was airline tickets, though 31 per cent of online shoppers still bought flights ‘offline’.

Of social media users who researched products, 40 per cent reported that their last search had resulted in a purchase – some 28 per cent of which were offline purchases in a physical store.

The study also revealed the concept of ‘showrooming’ – using a bricks and mortar store to try a product before buying online – is real, with 49 per cent of the respondents confirming they engaged in this behaviour. However, 24 per cent of those shoppers actually bought their goods online from the same retailer.

“Both online and offline customer experiences are only as good as the infrastructures they are provided – whether that’s physical stores or online sites. To provide a seamless omni-channel experience, retailers need secure, reliable connectivity. The omni-shopper opportunity makes this one of the most exciting times in history to be in retail for those skillful enough to grasp the opportunity,” Jude said.