Multi-Channel Strategy: Forget What You Know. Customers See a Different World
The current understanding of multi-channel strategy vs. customer experience with multi-channel disconnect begins and ends with understanding the options available to customers across industries and not within individual silos. Companies must understand what the customer experiences and determine where to play in order to be successful. This includes addressing issues such as:
- Understanding how the multi-channel market is evolving and proliferating. The nature of shopping and purchase venues is constantly expanding through text-communication, remote kiosks, etc. as well as consumer touch-points for service (e.g., geo-shopping locater service). Knowing where to be in relation to current and future channels is the essence of strategy.
- Moreover, most companies develop their multi-channel strategy from an intra-industry model. They look to what rival competitors are doing in order to gauge market standards trying to keep up with the Joneses. Customers, however, dont care what the Joneses are doing; they care what the entire neighborhood is doing.
- Companies must understand and anticipate that customers perceptions, evaluations, and selections of where and what to purchase, in addition to loyalty and advocacy, are based on a comprehensive experience.
- To this end, companies need to proactively understand customers expectations of the multi-channel experience: who is engaging in multi-channel shopping / purchasing, through what channels and within which industries.
- Companies also need to understand what customers expect in the future: across all industries as well as within a given industry; how the current utilization of channels impacts expectations of the future; what channels customers are seeking, and how many consumers are anticipating using such channels.