A lot of folks believe that retailers have it easy. All they have to do is buy the inventory, present it to potential buyers, sell it for a reasonably higher price than they paid for it, and boom, they make money, and the customer departs satisfied. While this may have been a somewhat accurate description of yesterday’s commerce, today’s consumers have evolved to be quite picky about every element of the process of shopping and buying. They have moved from simply needing to be “sold,” to needing to “experience” the process. We are living in a time where everything and every detail of all that we experience during anything we do is interconnected. This can, for the merchant, be highly pressure-producing from the many demands. Traditional brick and mortar stores and online stores are incorporating new methods for showing their products, and using a variety of methods. This includes mobile, TV, radio, away-from-home and all the different social media formats.
The Lines are Becoming Blurred
We are beginning to see that a growing number of consumers first shop in brick and mortar stores before then returning home where they make their actual purchase online. Then, on the other hand, there is a camp that goes about shopping conversely, by first looking online before heading out to buy from a real time physical store. As each format plays a part in influencing the other across the board, there is a proliferation of need for retailers to engage digital touch points, as they influence the purchases made by consumers. The bottom line? We now live in a new, non-linear, cross-channel world.
A New Direction That is a Requirement Needed to Stay Afloat
There is much effort and attention being directed to making significant investments of time and money by a substantial number of retailers to support this new reality. Included in these cross-channel presences are a strong online personality that stays well-traveled and current, and that links to every possible form of mobile and social media available. It takes such implementation to constructively build your own specialized branding and to generate new sources of revenue.
How This Can Best be Accomplished?
Multi-channeling is basically a combining of touch points that work together to enable a seamless customer experience. There is no way around the requirement of accommodating this critical change in thinking by any merchant who hopes to survive in such a highly charged market. This applies to online purchases that are for store pickup, customers returning their online purchases in the brick and mortar store, using their smartphone to get comparative pricing while they are in your store and using mobile coupons to shop in your store. There should not be any gaps or breaks in any of these areas for the seamless customer experience.