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Change the channel: Pandemic deepens channel dispersal for promotions

Lockdown meant majority (52%) of shoppers accessed promotions via email in 2020
Despite non-essential retail being shut for months, one-third (36%) of shoppers still accessed promotions in-store

11 January 2021  
The pandemic has accelerated the dispersal of consumers seeking and accessing promotions across channels, but suspicions remain around the value and consistency of discounts offered by retailers and brands digitally versus in-store. 

Original research of 2,000 UK consumers in the Promotions at the Speed of Demand report from the leading omni-channel promotion solutions provider, XCCommerce, reveals nearly half of shoppers (44%) say retailers don’t join the dots when offering promotions and discounts in-store and online. 

35% of shoppers say there aren’t as many promotions on offer in physical retail outlets when compared to online, increasing to 56% amongst 18-24-year olds, and two-fifths (40%) agree offers on social media channels are different again to those available online and in-store.

The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have unsurprisingly meant the majority (52%) of shoppers accessed promotions via email, increasing to 56% of 55-64-year-olds offering potential evidence of the shift of older shoppers toward digital channels.  45% of shoppers aged 65 and older accessed promotions via a loyalty programme. 

Female shoppers (18%) accessed promotions hosted on social media twice as frequently as men (9%), with 46% of all shoppers aged 18-34 using social channels as a source of retailer and brand offers.  Use of promotions via push notifications from retailers’ apps was also highest amongst Gen Z (18-24-year-old) shoppers at 33% as opposed to 24% across older age groups. 

More traditional channels to market remain relevant with 23% of customers accessing promotions delivered via the post in the form of coupons and mailers, while 21% of 18-24-year-olds access offers through television advertising. 

Consumers’ shopping behaviour has changed dramatically in the last five years with the shift to digital channels, which has been accelerated by Covid-19. Just as purchasing journeys are decreasingly linear or single channel, promotions now need to be easily accessible and consistent across all channels, from in-store, via social media and through consumer apps, explains Robin Coles, EMEA MD of XCCommerce:

“Managing cross-channel promotions consistently and adapting them in real-time based on customer behaviour is not easy, particularly as the number of online channels continues to grow and shoppers become increasingly dispersed.  The solution is to automate these processes so that promotions can start to deliver more revenue. Retailers will start to see a higher return on their investment in promotions and loyalty programmes, particularly in all the main marketing KPIs – average order value, lifetime value, returns and stock turn.

Automation gives visibility into channel and channel mix performance to enable continuous adjustment. Retailers can go to market more quickly to grab opportunities around slow-moving stock, peak events, new customer segments, new channels and so on. In addition, they can start to recover lapsed or inactive customers,” he concluded. 

Download the Promotions at the Speed of Demand report to learn more about how technology can enable retailers to deliver consistent, timely and targeted omni-channel promotions, that promote customer loyalty whilst protecting margins.


For further press information, please contact Mecah at Fieldworks on:

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About XCCommerce

XCCommerce delivers retailers an automated solution to manage, execute and analyse complex promotional offerings, across all sales channels. Its innovative promotion solutions are proven across a wide range of retail segments. Customers include Victoria’s Secret, LL Bean, Ulta, Metro Grocery, Shoppers Drug Mart and Tailored Brands. To learn more about XCCommerce, visit