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Multi-Channel Retailing Study, Questionnaire Example

Pages: 3

Words: 703

Questionnaire

What is the history of multi-channel retailing?
According to Zhang, et. al. (2010), involving the selling of goods and services to consumers via various channels. Different retailing channels include in-store, Internet, television, catalog mail order, mobile devices, or direct marketing. The Home Shopping Network (HSN) is an example of retailing merchandise via television. HSN also sells merchandise via their Internet site.

How does multi-channel retailing impact customer satisfaction?
Multi-channel retailing impacts customer service in positive ways for botht he retailer and the customer. Customers are more motivated to make purchases that are convenient for them to make. By retailing through multi-channels, retailers cover a broader range of the customer base and this helps to increase their bottom-line profits. For example, many older people do have computers or don’t know how to use them, so Internet marketing would not reach them. They are more suited to catalog, television or direct marketing.

In terms of consumer analytics, what issues do retailers need to understand and why?
Zhang, et. al. (2010) points out that successful marketing requires an understanding of the consumer analytics as it relates to the consumer buying process of today’s consumers, with all of the options available to them. For example, a customer may see an item he or she wants on HSN (television), then that customer may go to the HSN website to make the purchase. Consumer analytic data is needed to capture consumer behavior and buying patterns, to better predict their most likely shopping paths to purchases.

What is the difference between harmonization and homogenization in relation to multi-channel retailing?
Homogenization refers to keeping all of the same types of retail offerings together in all channels, and harmonization means keeping retail offerings together that have different characteristics. It is important for retailers to determine the right mix of homogenization and harmonization for each retail mix across all retail channels (Zhang, et. al., 2010).

What are the issues concerning pricing in multi-channel retailing?
As it relates to pricing, consumers expect continuity across different channels, but this could include expecting variations of pricing for certain retail channels. For example, consumers may expect to pay less for an item by purchasing it online as opposed to buying it in the brick-and-mortar store. This is because there are often “online only” sales. Consumers can find the same quality products via electronic purchasing channels as they do in the physical stores. This issue for retailers is the different costs associated with each retail channel. For example, online purchases require the process shipping, handling and processing, which have costs associated with it (Zhang, et. al., 2010).

Throughout this study are references to “synergy” among channels.  What is meant by synergy in this context?
Synergy across channels in retailing refers to efficient process flow from one channel to the next. To have synergy, retailers need to make sure consumers can easily navigate their purchasing options and move from one type of purchasing option to the next without interrupting the buying process. For example, a customer should be able to see a product on television and be exposed to the retailer’s website. That customer should be able to go to the website and make a purchase online and be given information on how to pick their purchased product up at the physical store.

What may be the future of multi-channel retailing?
The future of multi-channel retailing is poised to include electronic purchasing via hand-held devices such as paying by credit card with cellphones. Smart card technology is on the rise and this opens up an opportunity for another type of retailing channel.

What did you learn from this case study? Why is multi–channel retailing important in the 21st century?
From this case study, I have learned that retailers are becoming more aware of the control consumers have on their profits. Retailers need to cater to and satisfy today’s consumers in varied and created ways. Consumers of the 21st century are more informed because of the Internet. They compare prices and take advantage of their options and they make purchases based on whatever is the quickest, cheapest, best quality or most convenient for them.

Reference

Zhang, J., Farris, P.W., Irvin, J.W., Kushwaha, T., Steenburg, T.J., & Weitz, B.A. (2010). Crafting Integrated Multichannel Retailing Strategies. Harvard Business School Working Paper.

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