The Financial Post recently presented a list of tactics that companies can use to expand in the age of online commerce. Originally compiled by industry strategist Mitchell Osak, the list emphasized that companies are more eager than ever to maximize the production of each channel, spurred by a sluggish economy.
Developing a new channel consists of a variety of behind-the-scenes efforts. From a new transaction management method to an altered supply chain management strategy, delivering content to customers in new ways is a complex process, but one that can build business in a difficult market.
Intelligent channel use
Osak gave a specific list of recommendations for companies hoping to maximize the results from each of their many channels. He warned that if a business is not aligned correctly, one channel may end up taking customers from another rather than from a rival. Simply turning an online customer into an in-store customer could prove to be a much weaker result for a company than bringing in a new shopper altogether.
He also warned that the deeper a channel strategy becomes, the more likely that a company's brand identity will end up watered down across the multiple sales points. Retail companies run the risk of having a strong business plan go ignored in some parts of the company due to a disconnect.
According to Osak, the channel itself can also present a problem - a certain method of searching for a product simply may not suit customer needs or preferences anymore. Technology moves quickly, and many channels are based on new devices or approaches. Companies can seize advantage through embracing new digital platforms, but they could find themselves disappointed if the process is handled incorrectly.
Matter of survival
Adding new ways to purchase goods to retail offerings could be more than a good idea - it could be key to keeping a company in business. According to MyCustomer.com, industry expert Chris Gates recently issued an imperative for companies considering diversifying their offerings.
"We strongly urge more retailers to adopt a multi-channel approach as it’s simply not enough to think that an online ordering service alone will enable businesses to maintain a competitive edge. Today's consumers are highly discerning, demanding and media-savvy, and will therefore gravitate towards retailers that can offer an all-round multi-faceted shopping experience."
According to the source, Gates' firm encouraged sellers to reach out to the market through the phone, email, mailings, catalogs and online social media.