The multichannel shopper: building bridges between online and offline

 
 

Consumers are increasingly adopting online channels to buy. This evolution has been going on for years, and it certainly hasn’t ended. With the success of mobile devices, online commerce is growing even faster, as is the use of digital channels in the purchase journey.

However, let’s not forget the role of offline channels. The buying process still involves many offline touch points and one of the predominant channels in multichannel retail is obviously the…physical store.

According to UK-based Shoppercentric's 'Shopping in a Multichannel World' survey, 87% of surveyed respondents are using a store as part of their purchase journey.

However, Econsultancy that reports on the survey, adds high prices, crowds and the time taken are seen as drawbacks. Time has become a precious good, and it is just one of the reasons why online commerce thrives and grows. Add to that the more relaxed environment in which we can look for products online and the deals that we can find on the Web, and it’s clear online channels and outlets are here to stay.

Creating smart multichannel synergies

Nevertheless, it’s important to take into account the offline components of the multichannel retail purchase journey. Most of all, it’s meaningful to create smart interactions and synergies between both offline and online retail environments. In the end, stores are digital as well. I’m not even talking about new trends such as providing extra information on goods, using, for instance, QR codes. Other techniques bridging the digital and physical world have existed for years and with Selligent Interactive Marketing several of these integrations are possible.

The report reconfirms what we know by now: consumers use a wide variety of channels, and the store remains important. 45% of shoppers even said they will ‘always love going to the shops, no matter what new technologies are available’, Econsultancy writes.

The need of segmentation and profiling

However, when looking at the demographic segments and their use of channels in the buying journey, there is an interesting trend. For younger ages groups, laptop computers and netbooks are coming close to physical stores. Furthermore, younger shoppers use their smartphones and tablets more often in the purchase process.

In other words: it’s important to have strong digital presences and activities to have a multichannel retail strategy and for younger generations this is even truer.  Profiling, segmentation and targeting once again prove to be significant in reaching consumers the way they want, while keeping in mind the behavior of your specific customer segments.

Examples of this are obviously online retail and ecommerce possibilities and mobile optimized sites and landing pages.

Retailers can also, for instance, provide wireless networks in physical stores so consumers can compare prices or check out peer reviews. The mobile and social consumer is not a myth. Another way to serve them in a physical environment is, for instance, offering in-store digital kiosks and at the POS system level. 

Bridging the offline and online experiences and adapting to the multichannel and mobile behavior of consumers strengthens the impact of online campaigns and promotions as well, and enables a true multichannel retail and marketing strategy.

Do you want to know how Selligent Interactive Marketing can help you improve a multichannel retail strategy or create interactions that bridge the online and offline world?

Contact us and we’ll talk about it. Or request a live demo of Selligent Interactive Marketing.

Also check out some of our case studies to see how Selligent Interactive Marketing helps marketers and businesses reach the multichannel consumer.


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