Best Buy provided me an equally interesting shopping experience to buy a television. I shopped for it using the Best Buy website, and ended up calling their call centers to ask specific questions, which concluded the sale by phone and directed me to the nearest store to pick up the merchandise. For my family, multichannel shopping is very personalized and intent specific. My wife would not hesitate to buy electronic and household items online, but would never make apparel purchases online. I am almost always buying apparel online, because I have an odd size, and it is much easier to find my size online with a single click, instead of spending hours at a brick-and-mortar store. As we shopped for kitchen appliances for our remodeled kitchen, we often went to store showrooms and used our mobile devices to collect more information while walking through a showroom. A new study by Ipsos MediaCT and the IAB suggests shoppers are showrooming when it comes to consumer electronics, but that use of mobile phones in stores also leads to in-store sales. While 42 percent of people who used their phones while shopping ultimately made their purchase online, a full 30 percent did so in the store. Based on an online survey of 482 consumer electronics shoppers in February, Ipsos researchers found that mobile-equipped shoppers were also more likely to make an unplanned purchase: 32 percent in-store compared to 22 percent online. Nearly a third (31%) overall used mobile phones for shopping-related activity in stores. Three-quarters of consumer electronics shoppers went to a retail store to sample a product, with half planning to buy there, and a quarter intending to showroom. Digital advertising also played a role in showrooming. Over a third of shoppers (35%) recalled seeing ads for electronic products they were shopping for. Half said that digital ads made them visit an online store, while 28 percent said digital ads led them to shop at a brick-and-mortar retail location. The rest were not influenced either way.10
Collaboration across channels is a relatively recent development. It requires discipline in developing common offerings across channels and cross-channel training to sellers so that they can naturally work with other channels. Most traditional marketing uses channels to differentiate offerings, rather than using channel differences to collaborate for a specific selling opportunity. A recent Experian Marketing Services survey showed that just 44 percent of those asked had integrated their online and offline marketing programs. So 56 percent of the respondents’ customers could be receiving uncoordinated messages or offers at the wrong time and in the wrong channel.11 This has major implications for marketing and sales operations, as we will discuss in chapter 7.