Intuitively, the concept makes perfect sense. Maybe I want to rent a movie. Theoretically, it makes logical sense that I'd drive four minutes to my local Blockbuster store to pick up a copy of, say, "Idiocracy", because I want to see the movie now, not in two days when Netflix delivers it to my home.
Go visit the Multichannel Merchant website, and browse the hundreds of articles that have been written about Blockbuster multichannel strategy over the past decade. You'll be riveted by the strategic choices that Blockbuster made, choices that any pundit would laud:
- Blockbuster makes a bid for Circuit City.
- Blockbuster Canada launches a loyalty program.
- Rent a movie online, return in stores.
- Integration and Segmentation, a Blockbuster concept.
- Blockbuster Incents Netflix Customers With Free Rentals.
- Blockbuster Offers Free Rentals Via Expanded Rental Program.
- Blockbuster Lends Marketing Muscle For The Happy Feet Film.
- Blockbuster Combines Movie Cards With Meal Card Promotion.
- Blockbuster E-Zines Get People In The Store.
- Blockbuster Plays Ball With MLB In-Store.
- Blockbuster Settles With 48 State Attorney Generals Over "No Late Fees" Policy.
- Blockbuster And MasterCard Team Up For Movie Pass Program.
- Blockbuster UK Chooses MicroStrategy to Provide CRM Functions.
Be honest with yourself, especially if you promote multichannel strategies:
- Why do you choose Netflix over Blockbuster?
- Why do you choose Amazon over Barnes & Noble or Borders?
- Why do you choose Zappos over Nordstrom?
(Hint #1: A good part of answering the riddle involves prudent financial management of a business. It doesn't matter if a customer can order a movie and return it in a store if a business chews up half of all profit dollars or more on interest payments, does it?).
(Hint #2: Focus on merchandise and service and product delivery before you focus on channels and CRM and loyalty programs and promotions and co-branding ... maybe that is the true answer to the marketing riddle of why multichannel marketing doesn't work).