Multi-Channel Strategy in E-Commerce

Back to university! Even less time to write, and now much more work to do!

However, being a final year student is very nice. The modules are all very interesting (specially because you choose most of them) and you know it’s your last year in University. Now is roll up the sleeves and work hard to find work…

It is also a year full of dissertations, assignments and WRITING! So, I decided to post one small paper I’ve done for my E-commerce class. Of course, it is written in Academic Writing, and has about 1 1/2 pages of references, but I hope the content proves to be interesting.^^

Multi-Channel Strategies

Technology advances in the last years reduced the distinction between ‘stationary retail’ and ‘online retail’ (GTAI, 2013). Consumers can now start their shopping online and continue in a store or other device.

According to a recent research conducted by Google (2012), 90% of the people interviewed used multiple screens sequentially; 67% of those sequential uses involved online shopping.

The research also found that 77% of the time spent watching TV happened through other devices, like a PC/Laptop or smartphone.

This demonstrates the importance of having a presence in more than one channel of communication. However, having a multi-channel presence is no longer enough. Companies need to integrate their data and message to ensure a commonplace between the different channels (Anderson, 2011).

This can be achieved by integrating their POS system, allowing companies to merge data, customer information and marketing campaigns (Vedalankar, 2013).

This aggregate data can then be used to better identify precisely the response rate and conversions between different channels, allowing companies to better understand the link between return and advertising spent (Expedian, 2011).

In order to ensure the success of multi-channel e-commerce, it is important to optimize the context available in the different devices.

The content must be cohesive and user-friendly.

The context with which different media are used by consumers is affected by their location, the timing of the interaction, which goals the consumer has in mind and the attitude of the consumer at the time (Vaughan 2012, Google 2012).

The whole experience of shopping, not only the product, must therefore be concurrent, offer choice and be customizable to better fit consumer’s needs(Poloian, 2009).

It is important to diversify.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies are important. However, they should not be the only focus of a company’s marketing strategy. By using different channels, companies guarantee their products reach as many potential customers as possible.

Therefore, many companies start at marketplaces (e.g.: Amazon, Ebay), expanding to websites and SEO later (Ewing, 2011).

Interacting with consumers in different ways allows marketers to increase the likelihood of purchases. Nevertheless, when using multiple promotional strategies, a solid program is required to analyse incremental data and better establish each strategy’s performance (Experian, 2011).

Many companies are integrating their multi-channel strategies. This allows them to reduce shopping carts abandonment, speed their transactions and present more relevant products to their customers by the use of interactive online merchandising that reacts to outside drivers (Apparel Magazine, 2006).

The use of various means of communication also allows companies to reduce costs (nChannel, 2013a).

A digital marketing campaign can reach the same audience as a Super Bowl match, incurring only 25% of the costs (Harr, 2013).

Also, e-commerce allows companies to present a greater variety of products without the need of increasing inventories (Poloian, 2009).

The use of social media may not function as an autonomous shopping channel (GTAI, 2013); nevertheless it allows users to endorse your product through ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ (Breedon, 2013). However, undesired endorsement can also be promoted. Companies must be prepared to listen to consumers and authentically respond to their concerns (Experian, 2011).

Innovation in technology dramatically changed the way companies do business. The appearance of new devices is changing the way companies communicate with their customers.

Companies must therefore, innovate their strategies by making use of different channels to ensure customer interaction. However, these various strategies must be in commonplace and coherent.

By using several means of communication and one integrated system, companies can reduce risk, increase chances of interaction, and make use of its data to better understand the return on each strategy.

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