According to some people multichannel retailing is simply about shoppers deserting stores and buying on-line instead. This is a narrow view of the potential of multichannel retailing and how it can improve the shopper experience. It was therefore good to read an article in RetailWeek from Angela Spindler, chief executive of The Original Factory Shop, who adds a different perspective.
Angela puts a lot of effort into understanding customers and was clear that they value face-to-face contact and an interactive service. She therefore created a facility that allows customers to place orders for products from the company’s website in a store, with the help of a sales assistant. The key point is that staff were trained to help customers choose and buy the products that were right for them on-line in a similar way as they do when the products are actually in the store.
This is resonating strongly with customers, particularly those who prefer to
pay in the store. At the end of 2011, 35% of online sales were taken in stores. I’m sure that a significant chunk of these sales would not have been made without the service provided in-store.
Surveys from The Original Factory Shop show that what consumers want today is more than lower prices – it is greater value for their money. In their most recent survey, 59% of respondents preferred “quality products” over “cheap products” – compared with 48% in 2009. Even more important to get the help and advice from in store staff to make the right buying decisions.