December 05, 2012

Multiple Touchpoints

Multiple touchpoints (frequently referred to as multi-channel or omnichannel) happen when the customer is in a state of transition.  And when a customer is in a stage of transition, those who manage old-school channels try to stitch together a version of the future that includes the old-school channel.

If you actually analyze your own customer behavior, you'll see a couple of interesting trends.
  • Old-school multi-channel transition is largely over ... customers shifted from catalogs and call centers to e-commerce and search and email.  55+ rural customers held on to old-school channels, while 35-51 year old customers moved to e-commerce, search, and email.  This transition largely happened between 2002 and 2008.  It is over.  Run a migration probability table, it will tell you the truth!
  • Classic e-commerce transition is beginning ... customers age 19-35 are transitioning from e-commerce, search, and email to local/social/mobile.  Because we measure this in aggregate, it looks like "everybody" is making the change.  Not true.  Overlay demographic data on top of these trends ... omnichannel is much more about 19-35 year olds moving away from e-commerce/email/search than it is about everybody doing everything.  We're just measuring the trend incorrectly.
This "omnichannel" or "multiple touchpoint" transition will happen for several years.  Because research organizations, trade journalists, and bloggers don't have access to data within companies, they will report on overall trends, not segmented by demographic cohorts.  Their observations will suggest that "everybody" is doing "everything".

Not true.

Dig in to your own data ... perform demographic overlays on your customer file ... and observe unique trends.  Run a migration probability table!
  • Judy is largely sticking with old-school tactics, but will dip a toe in e-commerce.
  • Jennifer prefers classic e-commerce, but will dip a toe in mobile/social/local.
  • Jasmine is transitioning to newer channels.  When you hear media buzz about omnichannel, think Jasmine.

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