Here's a frequent question: "Why won't my retail customer purchase from my catalog or website?"
We've been taught all this multichannel stuff without adequate validation of actual customer behavior. A survey of 1,149 likely multichannel shoppers doesn't do true multichannel customer behavior justice.
The truth is that customers behave very differently across channels.
Customers who purchase from a catalog have a long memory. This is validated by the fact that many catalogers can mail customers who last purchased five or six years ago, and make money doing so.
Customers who purchase from a retail store have a short memory. Quick, tell me every store you shopped in when you visited the mall in January 2007? Or tell me every website you visited on March 14, 2008?
Multichannel marketing is an art form. It isn't all about slapping up an inventory system that links channels, followed by a coordinated multichannel advertising campaign that includes catalogs, e-mails, and display ads all connected by an integrated message.
Knowing that retail data ages quickly, knowing that online data ages almost as fast, and knowing that catalog data ages slowly causes us to make very different marketing decisions. Or at least is should cause us to make very different marketing decisions! We market to recent retail customers, yet we're willing to market to long-lapsed catalog customers, because the return on investment is comparable. And we use only the advertising channels that maximize this opportunity, targeted to the audience most likely to respond to them.
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