First there were brick and mortar retailers and direct-to-consumer companies–and never the ‘twain shall meet.
Then came retailers operating in multiple channels–but don’t call them “multi-channel retailers”–most pursued their strategies in operational silos.
Then more companies came to realize that silos belong on farms, and we saw more integration: consistent branding across channels, pricing and promotional synchronicity and cross-channel marketing.
So where do we find ourselves this holiday shopping season?
Now it’s a world of the constantly connected customer, navigating an explosion of communication and transactional channels and touch-points.
Now it’s Twitter and FourSquare and FaceBook and blogs and customer product reviews on a retailer’s own site.
Now it’s Groupon and Gilt Groupe and dozens of other sites driving down pricing through channel innovation.
Now it’s a world where customers use their mobile devices to shorten the purchase funnel cycle to mere seconds.
Information is everywhere.
The customer can be activated anywhere.
Are you ready for the omni-channel world?