Friday, September 6, 2013

Utilize Multichannel with Hedonic Selling

Retailers have been led to believe it’s wise to encourage consumers to shop offerings via multiple channels. Face-to-face in-store. Online via mobile devices. Telephone orders. A booth at community events. And more.
     Early in the drive toward multichannel retailing, Saks Fifth Avenue customers who shopped at both and at a Saks store were spending five times as much as customers who used just one or the other.
     Now findings from studies at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Texas A&M University have refined the advice: Multichannel retailing appears to be most profitable when people are seeking pleasure-oriented products and services. Perhaps the reason is that these shoppers find enjoyment in a variety of shopping experiences. One way they obtain this is to shop at different stores. Researchers at University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University speculated that the novelty increases the amount the consumer is willing to pay. Your customers might be shopping around even for products they could purchase from your store because they seek the stimulation.
     Rather than let go of these hedonic customers, explore ways to make their shopping experience more varied. That’s what multichannel retailing does.
     The North Carolina/Texas researchers found that for utilitarian items, purchased more for function than for sensual pleasure, multichannel appeals aren’t best. Among consumers who consider the utilitarian purchase to be high risk, the most valuable segment consists of those who buy online rather than in-store. Online shopping offers the opportunity to corral abundant opinions from an array of sources.
     Still, you’d be wise to encourage in-store visits from these customers. Talk and write about the talents of your staff in providing guidance to reduce uncertainties in buying items. And even if the purchase is made from your online channel, offer incentives for the customer to pick up the item from your store. Consultants to retailer REI have reported that when customers come into the REI store to pick up items they ordered online, as more than one-third of them choose to do, those customers buy an additional $75 in merchandise, on average.
     Another way to expand your multichannel retailing thinking is to remember paper catalogs. Along with in-store, catalogs were the channel most profitable for retailers among consumers considering their utilitarian purchases to be low-risk. Research indicates that catalogs are at their best with items where sales benefit from large picture spreads and an abundance of textual description.

Click below for more: 
Integrate Multiple Shopping Channels 
Catalog the Advantages of Catalogs 
Capture Multichannel Shoppers

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