Multichannel Retaining Impact on Marketing Dynamics – Services and Retail Marketing Assignment Example
Multichannel retailing is a term used to describe variety of channels used by consumers now-a-days for purchasing products. This concept includes both online and offline modes or channels of shopping like online stores, telephone sales, mobile stores, retail stores, and so on. In other words, it can be said that channels adopted by customers for any kind of transaction like searching, evaluating, comparing, purchasing, returning, products and services etc is included in multichannel retailing (Donald & Wilson 2011). It is worth mentioning that both pre and post sales services are performed by multichannel retailing. In other words, after sales services like product replacement, installation, servicing, repairing, etc are also being performed by the multichannel retailing. The wide array activities and tasks performed by multichannel retailing have created dramatic impact on the marketing dynamics. The underlying assignment aim at fostering detailed discussion on the impact of multichannel retailing on marketing dynamics.
Impact of multichannel retaining on marketing dynamics
The concept of multichannel retailing has made the marketing activities more customer centric as customers are enabled to facilitate marketing and sales decision from anywhere across the world irrespective of time and place barrier. It is also necessary as marketers hold the assumption that customer centric perspective can only yield and provide them with competitive advantage in the marketplace (The four benefits of multi-channel retailing. 2013). In this context, detailed impact of multichannel retailing has been outlined under the following headings:
The offerings of products and services have also gained dramatic change with the evolution of multichannel retailing. This impact has been analysed with the help of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The theory moves in hierarchical manner whereby self-esteem needs are targeted by the multichannel retailers through improving product offerings. The self-esteem dimension of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs focus on providing customers with enhanced recognition, respect, achievement, etc in a group or among their known ones. The multichannel retailers are adhering and adopting this concept through offering products and services in a more personalised manner (Donald & Wilson 2011).
It is worth mentioning that multichannel retailers utilise various channels like store, kiosk, catalogue, call centres, web, email mobile, etc for displaying and offering products and services. The products are offered in a manner enabling individuals to have more information and thereby making informed and better purchase decision quickly and rapidly. An example has been quoted in context of online retail player name Blue nile. The web page of the retailer has been shown below in order to ascertain manner through which purchase of jewellery is being tried to make more personalised and customised. It is believed on the part of concerned retailer that offering jewellery items in a personalised and customised manner will facilitate in leading customers to make purchase decision with increased chances of repeat purchases as well.
(Source: Donald & Wilson 2011).
It can be identified from the web page of the Blue nile that customers are provided with the option to select their diamond and choose setting accordingly. In other words, the retailer is providing chance to the customer to design his own ring as per his choice and expertise. Such steps and option will surely boost self-esteem of customers more than visiting brick and mortar store and shopping jewellery from there. It is evident as customer will have the sense of knowledge, appreciation, recognition, achievement, etc in above depicted purchase process (Donald & Wilson 2011).
Besides, product and services are offered in more informative manner on account of evolution of multichannel retailing. The traditional dynamics of marketing of providing information to customers has changed considerably by the multichannel retailing. In the past years, customers are having access to only information for the products searched and evaluated by them. In other words, retailers do not take any effort in providing comparative information of products and services in order to allow customers to make more informed and rational purchase decision.
In this context, an online retail giant named eBay has started presenting information in comparative manner of brands and products. The marketing personnel of the retail firm believe that presenting information in a comparative form will serve two purpose-it will help in gaining enhanced recognition among customers and secondly it will allow customers to make more informed purchase decision (Diamond 2007). One such comparative information regarding Apple ipod has been shown below:
(Source: Diamond 2007)
It has been identified above that customers can easily compare iPod as information is presented in side-by-side manner. All the specifications and features having bearing on consumers purchase decision are presented in comparative manner for assisting customers.
Advertising and promotion
This marketing dynamics has also influenced significantly due to the concept of multichannel retailing. The promotion and advertising mechanism in the past decades has limited to mass media like TV, press, radio, magazine, or any other form of outdoor publicity. It is believed that advertising and promotion is a costly affair and therefore need to be plan carefully (Habber 2010). The outcome of the advertising and promotion has always been less than the efforts entailed. In other words, cost and expenses incurred on advertisements and promotions is always higher than the results attained. The analysis showed that young people like colleague going students, professionals, teenagers, etc are using digital techniques like website, email, mobile, smart phones, etc rather than traditional media channels like TV, radio, print media, etc.
In this context, retailers displaying advertisements on digital media techniques are more empowered than those limited and confined to traditional media channels. This is so because young people constitute major customer share for many business firms and retailers. Therefore, targeting young people is necessary for business firms and retailers to widen their market share and customer base (Haines 2008).
The cost concerns of marketing function are also addressed with this reform of multichannel retailing. In simple terms, advertising and promotional schemes are proving costly exercise for retailers and creating heavy pressure on profit potentials of business firms. This is evident as displaying advertisements on different media entail significant cost to business firm. In this context, integration of different channels by the multichannel retailing has provided new aid to the advertisement and promotional avenues. The advertisements and promotional activities can be displayed on wider level with the help of multichannel marketing and at the same time very minimal cost. For example, FMCG companies, cosmetic products companies, health care products, etc display product ads on various channels like website, social media, emails, messaging service, etc in order to target large customer base at minimum possible cost.
It is also seen that advertisements and promotional schemes displayed on social media and other channels help in enhancing sales of products and services. Marks and Spencer, one retail giant has asserted that online promotion and advertisements has increased sales by more than 20 per cent. As compared to it, advertisements on traditional media channels has brought only 1.8 per cent increase in sales (The Multichannel Retail World: The Challenges to the Supply Chain. 2013). Such difference clearly indicates the impact of multichannel retailing on product advertisement and promotion mechanisms.
The theory named consumer decision making process has been used to ascertain implication of multichannel retailing on product delivery. The consumer decision making process involves various steps like information searching, product evaluation, purchase action and post purchase activities (Kotler & Keller 2012).The product delivery is a significant post purchase activity plays considerable role in yielding customer satisfaction. The smoother the product is delivered to customers, the higher the chances of customer satisfaction and repeat purchases.
One emerging e-commerce player name Amazon is ensuring and attempting to deliver products ordered by customers in minimum possible time and at free of cost or very low cost. It is believed by marketing personnel of the Amazon that customers generally hope to get product as soon as possible. In this regard, expected delivery time is informed to the customers at the time of product ordering and purchasing. The customers are not required to visit to the stores for getting products ordered by them. The products are delivered to the address provided by them as soon as possible with warranty conditions. In other words, customers are assured that product will be replaced in case of having any defect or mistake (Mayar & Ramsey 2011).
It is necessary to gain trust and acceptance of customers and leading them to believe that they are getting value-added advantage and benefits through shopping online or any other channel. The prevailing assumption that products purchased through brick and mortar stores are only reliable one as customers can check them through touch and trail. The multichannel retailers include Amazon are therefore offering option of product replacement in case ordered product not appearing convincing to the customers. The customers can easily get exchange of the ordered product and chose the one appearing best possible to them.
Improved customer perception
As per the consumer behaviour theory of marketing, disintegration of channels can play significant role in improving customer perception. It is believed that people across the world are using television, personal computers, laptops, tablets, etc in order to introduce some kind of integration in their shopping experience. The retailers falling behind in providing that kind of experience will surely loose customers in the coming time. This is obvious as business world is experiencing evolving of digital generation now-a-days i.e., generation expecting to purchase anything from anywhere at any time with the help of digital marketing tools (Luther 2011).
The proponents of consumer behaviour theory advocates that brands capable of integrating different forms of channels and technology in the purchase process can gain considerable consumer loyalty. Such brands and products are visualised as forward thinking and responsive to emerging customers’ needs. The customers’ believe that business firms capable of matching pace with emerging digital technology can only fulfil their needs in an advanced manner. Such perception on the part of customers improves competencies of business firms and brands and provide them distinct image in the crowded marketplace. In other words, offering products through variety of channels and mediums foster differentiation in the brands and products and improves their competencies. It is also said that customers are also interested in paying somewhat higher price for such brands and products providing them enhanced convenience and thereby allow brands to slice their profits up.
One beauty salon named Seva Beauty located in Wal-Mart stores tries to integrate tablets in its service offerings for improving customer perception and positioning itself as a forward-thinking and responsive towards emerging trends. The beauty services like manicure, pedicure, etc are integrated in the ipad located in each store. More specifically, presently the salon is operating in nine states and each salon is provided with one ipad for check-in and check-out purpose. The co-founder of the Seva Beauty believes that ‘because customers can check themselves in and out, it’s created a really dynamic in-store aspect’ (Kramer 2012).
This is evident as and when customers enter the salon, daily specials and loyalty programs are being displayed on the welcome screen. It guarantees that customers will surely see the marketing efforts of the salon and since wide range of customers are using smart phones and ipad; there are high chances that they will be signing loyalty programs and availing beauty services. In this way, Seva Salon attempts to change aesthetics of the salon through improving perception and thinking of customers.
It can be concluded on the basis of above discussion that multichannel retailing pose immense potentials and opportunities for providing new edge and era to the marketing dynamics. The basis aspect of marketing like product offerings, deliver, customer perception, advertising, promotion, etc has been transformed and positioned in new manner by the multichannel retailing. It would not be exaggerated to state that concept of multichannel retailing has exploited the potential of marketing dynamics in the best possible manner to reap the maximum possible benefits. The adoption and integration of marketing dynamics with multichannel retailing surely foster paths and manner of experiencing higher customer loyalty and profitable returns. The retailers are only required to utilise and integrate available channels properly in order to have long term growth and increase in sales, profits and customer satisfaction.
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The Multichannel Retail World: The Challenges to the Supply Chain. 2013. [online]. Available at: http://www.manh.co.uk/resources/thought-leadership/the-multichannel-retail-world-challenges-to-the-supply-chain [accessed on: 21 February 2014].