Build the Right Company Culture
Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three-part series on becoming more adept and adapting to the multichannel world. Part one appeared in our February issue, and part three will appear in our September issue.
The world of direct marketing is changing quickly. Whole new analytical tools, benchmarks and ratios have become commonplace in measuring success. You must think cross-channel if you’re to be customer-centered. And above all else, if you’re a stand-alone cataloger or retail store operator, the corporate atmosphere is forcing you to rethink your internal culture.
The opposite of a multichannel approach is a channel-centric one, where one channel dominates the others. For companies in which a single channel dominates, the company is typically more important than the customer in that everything revolves around company sales and profits.
Retailers have historically thought solely about their stores; other channels are an afterthought. Pure-play catalog or Internet companies concentrate only on those two selling methods. Neither is a winning recipe in today’s market.
The Right Attributes
Winning multichannel companies are customer-centric. From the customers’ perspective, this means:
1. Customers have significant control over their relationship with the company.
2. The customer relationship is seamless through all channels. You capture transaction history and record it in the database from each channel — catalog, Web or store. That database then drives all communications with customers.
3. Customers see a single face, identity and voice. Because of the database, each channel can speak to customers with the knowledge of what has transpired in every other selling channel.
4. Customers feel the company cares about them and will work for their loyalty.
5. All or most merchandise is available through every selling channel.
6. Customers demand more customer service.
What Multichannel Customers Want
In a recent study, Modalis Research Technologies pointed out two significant things about multichannel customers: