Shoppers are now ‘citizens of the world’, according to the latest stats from BRC which were released last week and show an increase of 23% in the online search for British retailers from overseas.
Retail search volumes grew 12% in the third quarter of 2013 compared with the same quarter a year earlier, according to the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor.
Search volumes on tablet devices outpaced those on any other device, increasing 100% compared with growth on smartphone devices of 58% and a 10% decline in search volumes on desktops, researchers found.
Total search volumes from overseas consumers searching UK retailers increased by 23% in Q3 compared with the previous year, up from 16% in the previous quarter.
Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said: “These figures highlight the strong foothold UK retailers have on the international stage, and the major potential for further growth. The growth in global customers searching for UK retailers online is up by an impressive 23% on the previous year and shows how the quality, range and accompanying service offered by ‘Brand Britain’ is something respected around the world. For the first time, we can also see which areas of UK retail rank most highly in these overseas searches, with clothing, beauty and department stores making up the top three.
“Closer to home, the data on category searches also chime closely with the trends revealed in our sales figures during this quarter. Many customers were searching for good deals on new technology releases, gadgets and games, mirroring the strong sales performance for these items in recent months.
“We’re again seeing strong growth for searches on tablets and smartphones, showing that these are playing an increasingly integral role in the customer journey. Retailers are continuing to invest significantly in their multi-channel offer, so they can provide customers fast and user-friendly ways to browse and buy whether in-store, at home or on the move.”
Peter Fitzgerald, retail director, Google, said: “The glorious summer weather that extended into July at times proved tough for online trading, as customers opted to enjoy the sunshine. However, the last two months of the quarter saw a drop in temperatures and led to overall queries growing at 12% in the third quarter. Again the DIY and gardening sectors were able to take advantage of the weather, with ‘garden furniture’ one of the most popular retail searches this quarter.
“We have also been able to take a deeper look into our international performance this quarter. Overseas interest in UK retailers is up at 23% year-on-year from 16% in the previous quarter. Our home-grown clothing brands and department stores are driving a lot of this growth followed by our beauty retailers. This is consistent with the international interest in UK luxury retailers that we have observed.”
Mark Haviland, MD of Rakuten Marketing, believes that British retailers can capitalise on customers’ desire for British brands overseas using affiliate marketing to ensure their global presence in the market
“The news from the BRC that online search from overseas shoppers to Britain is up 23%, highlights the growing importance of a cross border retail marketing strategy,” Haviland.
“Shoppers have become citizens of the world, no longer tied down by national borders; they expect their favourite products to be available worldwide. To capitalise on this, British retailers need to ensure they have a presence in the overseas market online. Although assigning marketing spend to untested markets is a daunting prospect, many retailers are successfully offsetting this risk using a strategic affiliate marketing program. Affiliate marketing allows brands to connect and build relationships with trusted publishers in new markets who can help deliver a brand and online shopping experience that is locally relevant, without diluting existing brand values.”