Monday, November 9, 2015

The Triumph of Multi-Channel Marketing

When Amazon tests physical stores, you know multi-channel marketing is here to stay. Left, the online pioneer's new store in Seattle University Village.

Unlike traditional stores, this one will stock only products that have been rated highly by customer reviews. (A "curated" merchandise assortment.)

With two decades of cutting-edge experience in Internet-based retailing, Amazon has a mountain of data and insights into customer behavior--so why have a bricks-and-mortar retail presence?

It's the next step in implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy, that's why. Here's a quote from the V.P. of Amazon Books:
"We've applied 20 years of online book-selling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping."
Not coincidentally, the location of this bookstore is a few miles from Amazon's headquarters. Like all retail outlets located close to the mothership, this is likely to be a test-tube for experimentation and data collection. What sells well in a store may not sell as well online, and vice versa. If nothing else, it's an opportunity to see how shelf position and book characteristics (cover art, color, size) affect sales.

Naturally, Kindle products get ample space. And, naturally, customers have the option of browsing Amazon's online stock. So multi-channel marketing provides another channel for shopping and, in addition, another channel through which Amazon can observe customer behavior and hone its marketing techniques.

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