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Retailers need to spread their offerings across many different channels of business

September 3, 2013

Many entrepreneurs have been focusing their marketing and sales aims toward the online sector: promoting their products via social media and aiming to make as many sales as possible using online credit card processing.

Many entrepreneurs have been focusing their marketing and sales aims toward the online sector: promoting their products via social media and aiming to make as many sales as possible using online credit card processing. However, industry leaders suggest that an “omni-channel” approach – offering products across as many modes of payment as possible, such as mobile, online, and at a physical location – is the best way to make inroads toward new customers. Online or mobile credit card processing technology is no longer enough. Now, business owners need to accept payments through as many forms of communication as possible. 

Neil Blumenthal, the co-CEO and co-founder of Warby Parker, recently testified about the need for businesses to engage in “omni-channel” sales attempts, according to a report from Pando Daily. His firm started as an exclusively online business, but now operates a number of physical stores and stands. Blumenthal states that this expansion was necessary for Warby Parker to become a “lasting brand.” 

“We’re also bringing in new customers, and the majority of new customers coming through retail channel are making their second purchase online,” he said, according to the news source. “It’s because shopping is about entertainment. It’s about discovery and fun and entering this whole different world. As cool as we can make the experience online, in-person it’s just different.”

Blumenthal said that research suggests that customers who purchase across multiple payment channels have a higher lifetime value than consumers who only shop online, or those who only shop on-location, according to the news source.

Merchants continue to diversify their efforts
Many retailers are beginning to realize the high profit potential created by offering products and payment processing technology across as many modes of communication as possible. One of the main reasons is to offer quality customer service: many shoppers won’t abandon a store after a negative experience – they’ll try out one of its other forms of contact.

Approximately 75 percent of customers will move to a new mode of communication when unsatisfied with the first contact method they employ to engage with a retailer, according to report from Forrester Consulting. Their research revealed that current managerial methods are not properly adjusted for customer’s changing expectations in regards to the large number of service channels available to them.

“Successful customer service strategies require alignment across people, process and technology,” said James Norwood, chief marketing officer for KANA Software, the firm that commissioned the study. 

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