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Why consumers & retailers are thankful for multi-channel

A multi-channel approach offers something for everyone, including shoppers and the retailers they purchase from.

In today's retail industry, customers have more than a few options at their fingertips to reach out and connect with retailers, make purchases and contribute to brand loyalty.

The strategy of offering these touchpoints is known as multi-channel, and this approach can bring numerous benefits for both shoppers and retailers as well. And now that 98 percent of Americans switch between multiple devices within the same day, it's critical that brands establish robust touchpoints that support consumer preferences as well as their brand image.

What's in it for consumers?

A strong multi-channel strategy on the part of retailers is now preferred among consumers, who will more actively engage with companies that offer them numerous channel options and different styles of engagement. Shoppers especially appreciate advantages like:

  • Using their favored device: Shoppers are able to use any device they like to engage with brands and make purchases, from shopping at their desktop during a lunch break to browsing on their tablet from their couch. This flexibility is definitely appreciated by consumers, who can now shop anywhere at anytime. 
  • Showrooming: More shoppers than ever are engaging in showrooming, where they check out products in person at a brick-and-mortar retail location before making a purchase online. Showrooming is a great approach for supporting current preferences, now that two-thirds of shoppers head to a retail store before or after completing their online transaction, according to Retail Dive.
  • Checking reviews before making a purchase: On the other hand, some consumers prefer to take somewhat of an opposite approach compared to showrooming, checking online reviews before heading to a store to complete their purchase. One study from BRP Consulting found that more than half – 62 percent – of customers check online ratings before doing in-store shopping, Inc. reported.

What's in it for retailers?

Multi-channel strategies are ideal for supporting current consumer needs, but the advantages here aren't just for brand shoppers. Retailers are particularly thankful for multi-channel as well, including for benefits like:

  • Driving increased profits: A 2015 study from IDC discovered that offering multiple customer channels for engagement can encourage shoppers to spend more with a brand over their lifetime – 30 percent more, in fact, than customers who only use one channel. 
  • Supporting personalization for customers: An array of different channels also enables retailers to gather more information about shoppers and their preferences. This data can be invaluable for supporting brand strategy, as well as a more customized experience for shoppers. According to the BPR study, 64 percent of shoppers noted that they're just fine with sharing information like purchase history and other preferences with retailers in order to support further customization. 
  • Enabling a robust brand image: Providing multiple different channels can also help a brand establish a more consistent and robust brand image that resonates with shoppers. A cemented brand image of this level can support strong brand recognition as well as heightened loyalty among shoppers.

A multi-channel approach offers something for everyone, including shoppers and the retailers they purchase from. To find out more about enabling your company's multi-channel strategy, connect with the experts at SFG today.

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