Implementing Multichannel Strategies Staff

Updated · Feb 13, 2002

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) advised that e-tailers with both online and offline interests should adopt a multichannel approach.

Corroborating findings made by Jupiter Media Metrix, BCG found that a large percentage of European consumers are using the Net as a research tool, presenting brick-and-click merchants with new branding opportunities.
“Online retailers should not treat the Internet as an independent or standalone business, but as an integral component in their multichannel strategy for attracting and deepening relationships with high-value customers,” observed BCG vice president Stefan Rasch.

Having interviewed a wide array of executives at retailers and surveyed close to 12,000 European Net users, BCG found that online users frequently compared products and prices on the Web before buying offline. Of these consumers 85 percent said they stayed loyal to the brand and product they identified online, while 35 percent stated that they remained loyal to the merchants whose sites they perused.

Although they are faring better than their US counterparts, European e-tailers have faced their own barrage of closures and consolidations. Whilst pure-plays are faring poorly across the board, BCG sees great opportunities awaiting retailers who develop an integrated multichannel approach.
The Net is exacting a “profound influence” over consumer behaviour, noted BCG, adding that 88 percent of potential shoppers browse online before making a purchase in a physical store.

The research firm also advised offline merchants to use the current Net-slump to expand their offerings online. “Many opportunities exist for traditional retailers to move ahead of their competitors by using the Internet to address consumers' desire for an integrated multichannel experience,” advised Rasch. “If an established retailer has the largest offline presence and manages the Internet successfully, it will have built a multichannel presence that is hard to match.”

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