April 11, 2013

#Omnichannel Future - Channel Pairs Part 4

I want to wrap up this series by analyzing four unique channel pairs.

Take a look at any row in the table that has "None" in the second column.  These are customers that only buy from one channel.

By the way, the majority of customers in your database only buy from one channel.  We spend all of our time analyzing omnichannel customers, when in reality, we should be spending a disproportionate amount of time analyzing single-channel customers!

Retail Only Buyers:  95% of future demand is in-store.  This tells us that, for these customers, digital is there to support the in-store experience.  I know, the experts don't want to hear this, but analyze your own data, and you're likely to see a similar outcome.  For retail brands, most of the customers are retail-only, and most of the future sales from this audience are in-store.  The digital experience supports in-store purchasing activity, an important strategic finding.

E-Commerce Only Buyers:  58% of future demand is via e-commerce, while 11% is via tablets/mobile.  About 20% of future online activity is bleeding out of e-commerce, into newer digital channels.  Unless mobile/tablet customers migrate back to e-commerce at the same rate, e-commerce is dying a slow death.  You don't hear the pundits talk about this, because, well, digital advocates just don't want to believe this finding!  Go look at your own data.  What do you observe?

Tablet Only Buyers:  50% of future demand is via tablets, 15% via e-commerce ... ok, this is a very interesting finding.  In reality, tablet customers are switching to e-commerce at FASTER rates than e-commerce buyers are switching to tablets.  We just validated the opposite hypothesis!  Now the new media pundits will get frustrated!  This finding tells us that e-commerce customers want to try tablets/mobile, but may find that experience not fully developed, driving customers back to e-commerce.

Mobile Only Buyers:  50% of future demand is via mobile, 15% via e-commerce ... again, the customer is actually switching back to e-commerce faster than e-commerce customers are switching to tablets/mobile.

So this analysis didn't go where I thought it was going, when I reviewed e-commerce only buyers, did it?  Fascinating!  At this time, customers are switching from tablets/mobile to e-commerce faster than they are switching from e-commerce to tablets/mobile.

By the way ... the relationships in this table (above) are very, VERY similar to the relationships observed when e-commerce broke on the scene in the late 1990s ... customers left the call center to try e-commerce, then shifted back to the call center.  This trend didn't hold - that's why you run this analysis every month/quarter, to understand how customer behavior is shifting.