It's Time for Retailers to Move Past the Multichannel Conversation
One of my favorite movie scenes is in "Meet the Parents," when Ben Stiller’s character is kicked out of the house, sets his future in-laws' house on fire, then boards a plane to return to Chicago. Arguing with the flight attendant that his bag isn't too large to stow in the overhead cabin, he finally clutches the suitcase to his heart and proclaims, “I am finished with the stowing of the bag conversation!”
It’s a great line I use sometimes, most recently in a meeting when the term multichannel kept popping up. Eventually I said, out loud, “I'm finished with the multichannel conversation!” Here’s what I mean:
How long have we been talking and asking about multichannel? You know the questions: “Do you have a multichannel marketing program?” “Do you know who your multichannel customers are?” “Do you know how much your multichannel customer spends?” We’ve been asking these questions for about as long as we’ve been using terms like relevance and one-to-one, which is a really long time. None of these terms are unimportant, but what’s next? What should we really be striving for now?
At its core, multichannel means having more than one channel to conduct commerce, communicate with consumers and vice versa. If you have a brick-and-mortar presence and sell online, voila, you're multichannel. If you have an email program and a social strategy, boom, you're multichannel. But how integrated are you? Marketers spend an awful lot of time talking about the next channel. But with every channel that's created, consumers raise the bar higher and beat the drum louder for integration.
The expectation has been set and the intersection of channels is here. Just think about it. Shopping is becoming social and your wallet is going mobile. Tying this data together certainly isn’t easy, but it definitely can be done. The reward is a loyal customer and a more profitable marketing program.