Channel Integration: Make it Seamless
Channel integration is a hot topic these days—and for good reason. Effective marketers successfully are leveraging their retail, catalog and Internet efforts against one another. They’re learning that their best customers are those who interact with them in multiple channels.
Examples of multichannel integration include e-mailing to customers coupons that can be redeemed in your retail store, notifying customers via e-mail of an upcoming sale catalog going out to them, and enticing print catalog shoppers to visit and order from your Web site. This list is limited only by your imagination. (I do, however, hope to see an end to Web-only, store-only, and catalog-only offers and products.)
Here’s why it’s best to convince customers to interact with you more often and how to accomplish it.
Why Integrate Channels?
• It makes good customers great customers. Statistics show that cross-channel buyers almost always will be a cataloger’s best buyers. So make it easy and seamless for them to reach you. Find ways to encourage multichannel interactions.
• It maximizes the profit from each transaction. Some channels produce better average order values (AOV), some lower costs and some improve service. These benefits vary depending on the catalog and its product offerings. That said, pushing your customers into a lower-cost channel that ultimately delivers a lower AOV or poor customer service may net you less profit—even if it’s cheaper to process the orders.
• It offers customer convenience. If you put customers in control and let them choose the channels that are right for them, you’ll develop stronger relationships with them and get more of their shopping dollars. The No. 1 reason customers shop by a catalog is convenience. But for some customers buying certain types of products, it may be easier for them to shop in a store. If you tell customers, “I’m sorry; that’s a catalog-only product,” they may hear: “I want to make it hard for you to buy from me.”