Monday, February 22, 2010

In store multi-channel

The words multi-channel and cross-channel appear in online/ecommerce market literature more often than nearly any other.

And with good reason. Customers are no longer channel specific in their shopping habits, so neither should retailers.

In a recent report from eMarketer, they found that:

Despite the adverse sales and margin impact due to down market conditions on non-food retail categories, the cross-channel retailing experience continues to gain momentum as 53% of retailers indicate that the need to address rapid changes in customer channel preferences is a key business pressure.

So what are retailers doing about this then?

Well, the crossing from the online channel to the store is an obvious one. This is supported by basic features such as 'store locators' on retailer websites, through to the increasing use of 'order online & collect from store' functionality offered by the likes of Halfords & Argos.

But what about crossing the other way, how is the in-store sales process helping to support the online one? Well... apart from the sale assistant providing the supportive line "we don't have it in stick right now, have you tried our website?"... what cross-over is there?

(Clue: How many terminals providing free access to the retailer's website do you actually see in a store?)

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