Retailers are increasingly multiplying their channels, adding Web platforms and call centers to brick-and-mortar stores to reach more and more customers. Interestingly, however, customers do not use one channel exclusively to complete their purchases anymore; as a matter of convenience, many customers use the multiple channels a retailers makes available to complete the purchase process. Consumers also are mixing different channels for different activities. For example, a multichannel customer might research a product at home by visiting a retailer’s online store, doing comparisons and reading reviews about the product. If this user has specific queries that are not answered online, he may then call the retailer’s call center. After completing his research, he may go back to his computer, place an order online and then track the order status or shipping details. Or he may place the order online and then pick up the product from a nearby store instead of having it shipped from a warehouse.
A Gartner survey released in March found that 66 percent of consumers believe consistency across channels is important, and they expect to be provided “one view of the retailer.”
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