Commentary

Multichannel Campaigns Must Interconnect Or Fail

Online purchasers are the least siloed consumer, and most go back and forth between online and offline purchases. In fact, 26% of consumers who purchased from a retail store interacted with a retailer's Web site at some point during the previous three months, according to a Foresee study. Half of those who purchased from a retailer's site had an in-store "experience" during that same timeframe. The study just doesn't define "experience" as a purchase.

The Foresee report measures data from more than 40,000 consumer surveys and highlights customer experience across Web, mobile, and in-store among the top 50 U.S. and 25 U.K. retailers like Nordstrom, Amazon.com, Apple, Target, and REI, among others.

Conversion is an archaic key performance indicator. Retailers need to take a look at the long view of the customer journey. They have focused for too many years on optimizing for conversion, but in a multichannel world the future needs to detail and define how one experience contributes to the next to turn the multichannel experience into an interconnected campaign.

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The study highlights the difficulty in marketers seeing the impact from cross-channel campaigns because online analytical tools such as clickstream analytics don’t link up with offline floor-plan tracking or point-of-sale information tracking in-store.

Understanding the multichannel customer experience has become critical in the modern retail landscape. Those who get it win. Based on a 100-point score, Apple took the No. 1 spot for customer satisfaction on the Web with a score of 82; in-store, 83; and mobile, 82. Bass Pro came in close behind with 82, 82, and 82. Best Buy took the No. 3 spot with 77, 78, and 79. Cabela's and Costco rounded out No. 4 and No. 5.

Overall, U.S. Web site satisfaction rose this year to 79, up two points from the prior year on a 100-point scale, while mobile and store satisfaction remained stagnant.

The customer experience across U.K. Web sites in aggregate also improved during the past nine years since ForeSee first began measuring U.K. retailers in 2007. The aggregate score for U.K. retailers has improved from 66 in 2007 on a 100-point scale to 75 in 2015. The e-commerce Web experience, however, remains four points behind the U.S. in aggregate Web score. The study tends to see lower satisfaction scores in the U.K. in general, but it is unclear whether that is because of cultural differences resulting in more conservative scoring or in less satisfying experiences.

In the U.S., Amazon customers seem a little more adventurous in term of using drones to deliver packages, although an inside source tells me the idea is more of a marketing ploy to imagine the FAA allowing packages to drop from the sky in a crowded city or suburban area. Initial findings from the ForeSee study shows that 37% of Web and mobile shoppers would use drone delivery for their purchases. While some folks might seem serious about using drones for deliveries, my source says it may make sense to see them in rural areas like Africa or South America. 

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