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Multichannel strategies, a bridge between offline and online worlds

Blog Post created by NASSCOM Community on Jul 1, 2016

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In the past decade, the evolution of communications technologies has dramatically changed the way people interact. The widespread growth in Internet connections, the adoption of cell phone short messages (SMS) the beggining of smartphones, tablets and applications, the rise of the social media… all this new media has reshaped the way we talk to each other, connect with the world and the products, services and companies we like. And not only to communicate. Data and information are now more accessible than ever.

In the information age, consumers have changed the power balance in their relationship with businesses. They no longer depend only on the nearest store or a mail catalog to acquire goods or services they seek. Commerce has definitely changed.

Specialists have identified some of the most visible behaviors that revolutionized the way we shop today. One of these trends is known as ROPO (Research Online Purchase Offline) or O2S-Factor (Online-to-Store). In this kind of behavior, consumers research through Internet about the items that interest them, evaluate their features and compare specifications and prices, and then complete the purchase in a brick-and-cement store.

The reverse behavior is also a constant in business relationships today, and is known as ”Showroom”. In these cases, customers go to a store to see products first hand by themselves and to feel them. Then they close the deal at any online store for getting most favorable terms, such as more convenient prices, discounts, financing, or even better after-sales support.

A third trend that is worth mentioning is the longtail. Unlike its predecessors, this does not lie on the side of demand, but supply. With the emergence of online stores and optimization of logistics and products storage, new business models for specialized products and services emerge. New companies challenge traditional business thanks to the strength of their catalogs.

Hard times for traditional stores, in other words. From the above, we can draw some conclusions. Customers today have many more options available, which changes the power equation with companies. If a person cannot find the product he needs or does not get the attention he wants, he has many options just a click away, or even at a tap of his smartphone screen.

Connected with this, competition is more intense in the present and has no frontiers between brick and mortar stores and the online world. So, who offers a more personalized experience and a more suited service to the needs of each user will be better prepared to survive in today’s world conditions.

The disappearance of these borders is also seen in the customer service channels. In addition to the face-to-face attention and telephone assistance, today people communicate with the companies by email, social networks, chat, contact forms and many other ways. In this new paradigm, the client must be at the center of strategy and business for companies to have chances of success.

The multichannel strategy must also contemplate a single, uniform company and brand identity for the customer. Customer experience must be the same through all channels. This is also true -and especially- for companies that have online and offline businesses or areas.

And just as the identity of the company and the experience of relationship must be unique, also each client is. It is therefore essential to know them more and better, with the tools and information already at hand. This is what will allow companies to survive and succeed in a competitive world, with more powerful users and without borders between offline and online.

 

This blog has been posted with permission from Teleperformance. The original blog can be accessed here- https://blog.teleperformance.com/customer-experience/multichannel-strategies-a-bridge-between-offline-and-online-worlds/

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