Multichannel strategies rise in importance

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — Do you doubt the importance of having a multichannel strategy to reach shoppers? If so, consider the fact that — for as little 2.5% off — nearly half of your customers will walk out of the store to make their purchase online. How about a 5% discount? Well, that number jumps to 60% of shoppers who will leave.

(THE NEWS: Study: Discounts as low as 2.5% sway shoppers to leave stores, purchase online. For the full story, click here)

That’s according to recent showrooming research from GroupM Next and, as many would likely agree, that’s a pretty darn compelling reason to implement a multichannel strategy.

That’s not the only study that stresses the importance of such a strategy. A recent report from IBM noted a rise in mobile shopping and a dip in social media sales during the second quarter — further evidence supporting the importance of a multichannel approach.

“Shoppers today are shifting from a singular online approach to a multichannel experience that includes both mobile and social media,” Craig Hayman, GM at IBM Industry Solutions, had stated in announcing the study results. “As a result, retailers must be prepared to connect with their customers on all fronts, or lose them to the competition. As we enter the home stretch for the 2012 holiday season, we will continue to watch how CMOs and CIOs tackle these challenges and create social media efforts that deliver value to the customer while driving revenue for the business."

Several retailers are, in fact, heeding the call. For example, earlier this year, Walgreens announced that it would publish a digital edition of its weekly advertising circular offering additional items through Walgreens.com and the company's mobile applications as a way to complement its “multichannel strategy by finding new and different ways to cater to today’s consumers.”

Clearly, there is mounting evidence that having a multichannel strategy is key, and those retailers that want to effectively reach today’s shoppers are wise not to rest on their laurels.

What do you think is the most effective multichannel strategy for today’s retailers and suppliers?