The development of multi-channel marketing is one of the most impactful things happening in internet retail these days. As I have written about before, the idea that customers want to order online but pick up their merchandise in a physical store seems counter intuitive. However, there is growing evidence that they want to do exactly that. This gives a tremendous advantage to multi-channel merchants because not only do they see an increase of online sales but they also see significant upsell revenue once they get their online customers into their stores.
While you might think that multi-channel retailers are moving to capitalize on this trend, the third annual Buy Online/Pick-up In-Store Study indicates that progress is not happening too fast. For example, the process of picking up items ordered online is often more tedious than it should be. Also, fewer retailers are taking advantage of the upsell opportunities that in-store circulars offer and fewer retailers are using web-enabled kiosks.
I find this news to be interesting but these glitches are not going to negate the increasing popularity of multi-channel marketing. We are still in the infancy of the concept, and there is a lot to figure out. In the meantime, online-only retailers have a bit of a reprieve and a little more time to plan on how they will be relevant in the coming retail environment.