U.S. Marketing Professor Explains Why Pure E-Commerce May No Longer Be Enough For Retailers.

Click and collect, and the opening of bricks and mortar stores by retailers who once focused just on e-commerce are examples of why a move away from a pure e-commerce strategy is the way forward according to a U.S. Marketing professor.

If you run a UK retail business, with or without a physical store you will be familiar with the need for a strong investment in the online side of your business.  Now New York Stern School of Business Clinical Professor of Marketing Scott Galloway, and Founder and CEO of L2 says that to focus purely on e-commerce could reduce customer convenience and that you should now be pursuing and omni-channel approach.

“Pure Play E-Commerce is Dead”

Professor Scott Galloway believes that “pure play e-commerce is dead” because in today’s market the all-important customer convenience can ONLY be delivered if a combination of different channels are used (omni-channel). Why? Because your customers are multi channel and customer needs are at the heart of all successful marketing. Keeping close to the potential customer or customer across many channels is the way to be there ate the right moment with the right offering.

Examples

As is so often the case in business the larger, well known players make good examples. Amazon and Made.com are examples of e-commerce focused retailers who have now embraced bricks and mortar stores, although these are thought to become more like showrooms. Galloway gives Apple given as an example of a luxury brand that has embraced multiple channels including showroom style bricks and mortar stores to maximise customer convenience, and has been able to increase the price of each version of its new products.

There are also plenty of examples of retailers doing things the other way around. Waitrose for example revamped its website in 2014 to make it more tablet-friendly and easier to navigate which resulted in a 41.4% rise in grocery sales, with customers visiting the shops and the website in large numbers. Waitrose also used its potential for channel integration to help the customer shop more easily by allowing 57% of John Lewis orders to be picked up from a Waitrose store.

What Does All This Mean For You?

The main message here is that different customers will use different channels to make the purchase decision and make the purchase itself. Customer behaviour is multi channel so it makes sense to align your business with today’s customers.  Smart phones, tablets and decreasingly desktops can be used for researching products and / or purchasing them.  Stores could be used for research that leads to an online purchase as well as being a place to make the purchase. Websites and social media can provide valuable communication, information and influence as well as providing the store to purchase from. 

The Importance of Using IT Data

It’s not just about thinking hard about how best to use and integrate all of the channels that your target customers use. The data that you have access to about your customers and their researching and purchasing behaviour can provide the key better customer satisfaction.  Making good use of the skills, knowledge and services of your IT Support Company can really help in making the most of your own omni-channel approach.