Archive | March, 2008

Multi-channel retail experiences don't live up to expectations

20 Mar

multi-channel retail experiences

Within the retail market there is a lot of talk about Multi-Channel, where services are provided via multiple touchpoints. Most commonly, this refers to a website and a shop floor. So it was interesting to see that one of the UKs largest retailers is still experiencing gaps between what it offers in-store, what it promotes online, and what level of understanding its staff has.

This example was experienced as a bit of research I was undertaking to review the online experience of buying an affordable suit. I was testing the website, but as part of the user journey I needed to visit the store to reach my goal. Here’s what happened:

The website promoted a suit, shirt and tie combo for £32, which was exactly what my user profile was looking for but it wasn’t available to buy on-line. My user profile was not fond of shopping, and certainly didn’t want to go all the way to the store only to find they had no stock. So I called my local branch. The polite lady that I spoke to was not aware of such a combo offer, and informed me that their in-store stock was often different to that on the website. So my journey ended there and I hadn’t reached my goal. Well, out of character, I decided to pop into the store to have a look for myself. And guess what? I found a suit for £26, a shirt for £4, and a tie for £3. A suit, shirt and tie combo for £32.

So what has happened here? If your retail website does not allow you to buy the products online, then users will expect them to be available in store, and will also expect that when you mention the online products to the sales assistants then they will know what it is you are referring to. The key mistake made in this is example is that the retailer did not provide sufficient information and training to its in-store staff about the products and promotions currently live on the website. The impact of this is a potential online customer, happy to buy in store, is let down when he crosses channels. The retailer loses out on a sale, and the customer has to begin their journey again and go elsewhere.

Successful companies will need to provide its services across multiple touchpoints (shop floor, web site, call centre, brochure, etc.), but those that will come out on top will review all their touchpoints together as one solution and roll out each channel to provide a consistent experience and enhance the customer journey.

Is your multi-channel experience consistent across all your touchpoints?

Related services: Customer Experience Research, User Experience Audit, and Customer Journey Mapping

 

 

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Ali Carmichael

About Ali Carmichael

Ali (or Alasdair) is an experienced project manager who loves his Gantt charts and milestones! He has over 12 years' experience managing successful online experiences for world class brands. Ali is responsible for ensuring our clients love what we do for them. Follow Ali on twitter @AliJCarmichael