IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 22 Aug 2011

Channel agnostic consumers – the new retail religion?

Many consumers have preferred shopping channels – I’m no exception to this as I personally prefer not to shop in-store, but instead order online from the comfort of my own home. My wife has a different approach because she likes to go to the high street and browse in multiple shops before making a purchasing decision.

However it is vital for retailers to note that whilst my wife and I are by no means exceptions to the rule, there is also an important subset of consumers who are in fact channel agnostic. These customers don’t care which channel they shop via, but do want to engage with the product and the service that the retailer is providing.

In 2005, 97% of the consumers surveyed by the eCommerce Times said that they expected a channel agnostic customer experience. I would be prepared to bet that this percentage will have increased over the past six years.

People have an emotional attachment to certain brands, particularly in the fashion sector. Therefore, the opportunity should be given for engagement to take place between the consumer and your brand, irrespective of which of your channels they decide to use.

The retail proposition, product quality, support services and brand identity should also be consistent across each channel. Price is an additional factor; although potential delivery costs via online and catalogue channels need to be taken into consideration.

If your routes to market are for example, bricks and mortar stores, an ecommerce website and a mobile optimised site, you need to recognise that there will be customer interaction beyond these consumption channels. For example, customer services and delivery teams will impact upon the overall experience, and again consistency will be expected.

In conclusion, in the process of moving your IT Strategy from ‘Multiple Channels’ to ‘Multichannel’, you need to provide consumers with the same destination, no matter what the individual customer’s vehicle.

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