This post is part of the #JUMPchallenge, a blogging competition designed to raise awareness of how to join up online and offline marketing, launched to support Econsultancy’s JUMP event.

The post comes from Illiya Vjestica, and was originally posted on the Dog Digital blog. The whole post is worth checking out, but here is an extract showing how some UK brands are using multichannel.

Start placing emphasis on multichannel marketing

In todays digital age it is often expected for brands to expand their traditional marketing efforts to a dedicated online channel to reach their customers in the easiest and quickest way possible. However, should a brand invest all their time in just solely online channels or offline channels?

The answer is no, your customers expect to have a choice wether they prefer to engage with your product or services in an offline or online channel, choice is the key to delivering a true multi-channel offering.

There are some customers who still don’t trust using their credit cards to purchase products or goods online, there are those who would much prefer to pick up the phone and talk to someone face to face about their interest.

Other customers are quite happy interacting with a brand through e-mail and text and are conformable buying products online through mobile devices. This is why we need multi-channel, because our customers want to engage with brands in multiple marketing channels, not just one.

Popular UK brands that are embracing multichannel

Let’s look at some great examples and stats from some popular UK brands who are using Mutli-channel successfully to reach customers in different marketing & media channels.

CSL Sofas

Recently CSL Sofas, a major sofa retailer in the UK has been pushing its ’Three ways to buy’ TV advert.

CSL customers can buy in store, online, or through its iPhone app. To make sure they don’t miss the huge online video audience, this advert has been upload to CSL’s own Youtube channel.

This is a very interesting advert, they show clips of customers surfing the online store on a laptop and using their iPhone to access the CLS iphone App. They also let viewers know the iphone app is available to download on the App Store.

This is multichannel advertising at it’s heart, they are trying to offer customers choice by answering the question how would you like to buy your sofas from us. It is great to see a brand publicly advertising their iPhone app on a TV advert. This is a great way to get quick exposure to the mobile app.

Halfords & Argos

Both Halford’s and Argos have increased their sales by the successful delivery of their ‘buy online and reserve/collect in store’. “Halfords is a company that has fully embraced the notion of a multi-channel strategy, serving customers both in-store or online with great success,” said Allen Scott, UK managing director for Manhattan Associates.

The figures speak for themselves

Halfords “Reserve and Collect” proposition continues to be a resounding success with Halfords customers; driving 90% growth in multi-channel revenue in the year to 3 April 2009, source IMRG

The same can been said for Argos, its multichannel sales reached £1.9bn for Argos in the last financial year, 43% of the retailer’s total sales. The latest addition to this strategy is a new Check & Reserve iPhone app.

Dominos Pizza

I recently blogged about Dominos using Foursquare, a location based social media app, that allows you to check into real locations. Domino’s has had huge success online throughout 2009 and 2010 their e-commerce sales grew by 61.4%, compared to growth of 38.9% at the same time last year.

They certainly are one of a small few UK business who are using Foursquare as a marketing tool. This use of social media especially their Facebook fan page and the re-design of their online ordering platform are two of key success factors in their online sales performance.

I hope this blog post has convinced you that multi-channel marketing is more important than ever to businesses, customers now expect to engage with your brand in any channel they wish. With the right implementation it can have huge payoffs for sales and revenue.

I also expect the use of mobile & social media to continue to grow rapidly with UK retailers in the next five years.

This is one of the entries in the JUMP blogging challenge, and we’re looking for more bloggers to contribute by posting an article. The closing date for entries is September 17. 

The winner will receive a ‘blogging hamper’, which includes an iPad, a press pass to JUMP, free Econsultancy membership, some strawberry jam and more. More details here