Marcus Sandwith, MD, Haygarth
I couldn’t agree more that multi-channel retail is about more than offering a site to drive customers to stores (nma 2 June 2011). People often prefer to venture online to seek inspiration, compare prices and read product reviews before they go shopping and make their purchase decision. So retailers’ online presence, knowledge and advice have a significant role to play in strengthening consumers’ perception of their expertise and authority, and can provide valuable differentiation in competitive and homogeneous sectors.
Offering consumers real-world exclusivity or limited-edition stock in reward for their relationship with the brand via online channels is an effective way of raising awareness, generating desirability and, most importantly, driving people from site to store. And if consumers are rewarded with a positive experience on the high street, they’re more likely to reward the retailer with positive sentiment in the branded space, as well as in their own and friends’ social media spheres.