Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Multi-Channel Future - are you in denial?

If you work in retail these days you have to get used to a customer who is increasingly tech-savvy and multi-channel minded.

Gone are the old days where stores would offer a 'price matching guarantee' to anyone who found the same product only in a competing branch nearby or glossy catalogue. Now they have to offer the same deal to any reputable online source too or face some pretty strong criticism (usually on social media networks Luke Twitter or in blogs).

And its not just tightly-clasped black & white printouts that nowadays get shown to store staff to price match. Its now incredibly easy to take a picture with your smartphone camera, submit the image to a site or application and get an almost instant price from a number of highly-competitive online retailers.
Note: If you haven't tried it already, Amazon's iPhone app does exactly this.

In my opinion some retailers are most definitely still in denial about the whole multi-channel approach. They don't want to join up the sales channels in an effort to win the sale and their store staff on commission are not encouraged to tell customers that the same product is not out of stock on the company website.
And why should they? Unless there is some way of attributing an online sale to the physical visit, then there's no value in them giving the company website address. To them they might as well tell the potential customer to go next door to the competition....for all the financial good it will do them.

But is doesn't have to be like that...... Does it?

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