It is thanks to the development of new digital tools that the multi-channel marketing strategy has emerged. This consists of setting up new points of contact between a company and its customers: it can be a website, social networks, a physical store, a mobile phone, etc. Generally, these are the companies with physical points of sale that decide to develop digital tools such as e-commerce sites to gain visibility. But the reverse is also possible, some e-commerce sites have thus developed physical points of sale to facilitate the return or withdrawal of products. This strategy has now become essential and is implemented by most companies. However, the different channels remain independent of each other, without any possible interference, and this is the main limit of this multi-channel marketing strategy. Although the use of these different channels simultaneously can increase the turnover of a company thanks to an optimized presence on the market, being each autonomous, these channels can compete against each other.
Few companies today are satisfied with a single channel for their marketing strategy. The channels are multiplied by the companies, in particular in order to gain visibility and to cover the entire market in which they operate. Take for example the company Metro, a wholesaler of food and equipment for professionals. This B2B company, since the democratization of the internet, is no longer content to simply sell its products in the warehouses in which it is established. To meet the expectations of its customers and to avoid certain trips that could waste their time, Metro has developed a website on which the company makes sales directly online which are then delivered to the buying company. This new point of contact with companies, in the context of a multi-channel marketing strategy, has therefore enabled Metro to offer its products through different channels to capture more customers.
The transition to cross-channel to link the different distribution channels
To overcome this limitation of channel independence in the context of a multi-channel marketing strategy, cross-channel was naturally put in place. A cross-channel marketing strategy consists of making the customer journey smoother by integrating all the channels used by a company, i.e. making the different channels work together. Thus, with this strategy, the different channels become complementary and no longer independent of each other. The idea is to make it easier to switch from one channel to another and to offer customers a better shopping experience.
Omni-channel: the future of points of sale
The cross-channel has now entered the mores of companies and this marketing strategy is used by a significant number of them. But now, the time has come to implement an omnichannel marketing strategy, which consists of creating synergy between the different channels used. Consumer behavior has evolved, they no longer consume in the same way, they are more demanding, and their purchasing process has become more complex, becoming much less predictable. Generally, we say that an omnichannel marketing strategy rhymes with connected stores. These allow you to connect to the Internet directly at a point of sale. In B2C, connected stores are developing more and more to offer customers an experience halfway between the physical and the digital: the “phygital”, creating buzz and customer curiosity. This makes it possible to combine the different distribution channels, to create a unique experience that marks the minds of customers.
It is with this in mind that Samsung, for example, has developed various concepts of connected stores that it sells to ready-to-wear stores, hair salons, etc. For example, the company has created a virtual and connected fitting room, a smart beauty salon… All this with the aim of offering customers a connected shopping experience in a physical point of sale.