- IBM Research Suggests Customers Prefer To Move From Online To Retail, Not From Retail To Online, via Direct Magazine.
When you know that customers move from Catalog to Online, then from Online to Retail, then use Online to research future Retail activity, you view your multichannel marketing activities very differently than you view them through the multichannel marketing best practices we're currently being taught.
And long term, for those with a retail presence, the e-commerce channel is dwarfed by the "internet as a research channel" concept. The direct marketing community and web analytics community isn't ready for this reality.
If you are a retailer who has run simulations illustrating long-term customer migration, you've probably observed something like this (comparing an online/direct customer to a retail customer --- click on the image to enlarge it):
Again, you're likely to see this type of trend if you are Gap or J. Crew or Eddie Bauer or Best Buy or Ann Taylor or any brand with an online/direct and retail channel. Customers seem to migrate from online to retail. When that happens, they are much less likely to buy online, much more likely to research online. This changes how you view your website.
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