Those who can merge the two – through in-store browsing before online purchasing – will do well this festive season, says Andy Lyon, partner and retail expert at business advisers PwC.
He forecasts growth of around 20% in online sales this Christmas, with figures already up by more than 10%.
Mr Lyon said: “The winners this Christmas in terms of sales will be the retailers who successfully keep pace with consumers by merging the experience of shopping on-line and in-store.
“The retailers who achieve this in a polished and smooth way, will see the rewards in their sales performance. For example, having a strong store presence for browsing and returns, and strong online for purchasing.
“Savvy retailers will have also in-store Wi-Fi to allow customers to view product videos and research reviews.”
He xpects the technology sector to lead the way in Christmas sales, led by smart phones, tablets and other interactive media such as games consoles.
“Retailers of all kinds face an increasing need to have an integrated total retail strategy for the digital age, rather than separate digital and non-digital channels that often add more to costs than revenues," Mr Lyon said.