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What the customer really wants

Portrait of Björn Bloching
Senior Advisor
Hamburg Office, Central Europe
March 1, 2013

Sooner or later, bricks and mortar will be replaced by online shopping. Online, price is the only thing that matters. Offline retail is degenerating into a showroom for online retailers. Young people have already been lost to brick-and-mortar retail. … Or so they say! Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and ECE have surveyed approx. 42,000 consumers, and looked deep into 2,000 consumers' shopping bags for a month to establish a clear picture of the retail situation. Online shopping is becoming ever more important: In Germany, although only 7% of transactions are done online, Internet shopping accounts for 16% of sales revenues – and rising. But brick-and-mortar retailers should not despair in the face of online competition. Conventional shopping is still most Germans' favorite way of shopping – regardless of online price wars or the new generation of digital natives with their high affinity for the Internet.In a comprehensive analysis, they determined seven buyer segments, each with distinctive shopping behaviors.

To sum up: German brick-and-mortar retail can meet customers' needs in ways that online shopping cannot or will never be able to do. However, companies must better understand their customers' wishes and shopping needs, in order to tailor offers to them and let them discover the opportunities of the digital world. A targeted click-and-mortar multichannel strategy will create better offerings for consumers and open up new horizons for retailers. But only if they know how to give different customers what they want."The battle is still raging between online and offline retail," says Prof. Björn Bloching, Partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. "If traditional retailers recognize their strengths and expand their range to include suitable online offerings, they will be able to keep consumers loyal in the long term."


What the customer really wants


The truth about shopping in a multichannel world – Opportunities for retailers and manufacturers.

Published March 2013. Available in