Channel Integration and Systems

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Channel Integration and Systems

The integration of marketing channels involves a process known as multi-channel retailing. Multi-channel retailing is the merging of retail operations in such a manner that enables the transacting of a customer via many connected channels.

Channels include:

  • retail stores,
  • online stores,
  • mobile stores,
  • mobile app stores,
  • telephone sales,
  • any other method of transacting with a customer.

Multi-channel retailing is built on systems and processes, but customer heavily dictates the route they take to transact. Systems and processes within retail simply facilitate the customer journey to transact and be served. The pioneers of multi-channel retail built their businesses from a customer centric perspective and served the customer via many channels long before the term multi-channel was used.

Omni-channel retailing is concentrated on a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels like mobile internet devices, computers, bricks-and-mortar, television, catalogue, and so on. The omni-channel consumer wants to use all channels simultaneously and retailers using an omni-channel approach will track customers across all channels, not just one or two.

Omni-channel retailing uses all shopping channels from the same database of products, prices, promotions, etc. Instead of perceiving a variety of touch-points as part of the same brand, omni-channel retailers let consumers experience the brand, not a channel within a brand. Merchandise and promotions are not channel specific, but rather consistent across all retail channels. The brick-and-mortar stores become an extension of the supply chain in which purchases may be made in the store, but are researched through other channels of communication. With omni-channel retailing, marketing is made more efficient with offers that are relative to a specific consumer determined by purchase patterns, social network affinities, website visits, loyalty programs, and other data mining techniques.

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