Multi-Channel Networks and Challenge Creating the Customer Experience.

To date, the term multi-channel in business is understood as being a combination of various sales networks. These different networks include online, point of sale (POS), telephone, and catalog purchases, among others. Multi-channel sales networks offer a range of possibilities to achieve the same goal using differentiated strategies and an assortment of pricing and promotions plans. However, it can also be viewed as a way that companies discriminate against the public based on segmentation (age, purchasing power, sex, etc.). This division is known as exclusive channels.

Exclusive marketing is evident in banking, telecommunication and consumer goods companies. They organize their sales forces or marketing departments to target specific businesses, individuals or groups and treat each one as their own independent segments.

Here we want to emphasize that these multi-channel sales networks are also a means to manage the needs within the value chain between the business and the customer, which is very different from using product management as the key element to create value and loyalty. This is where we find the multi-channel customer who manages their own service based on their personal needs or preferences.

The simplest example may be that of a customer. They can choose to make a purchase online but pick it up at a nearby store where they may be assisted in configuring the purchased item (if necessary), under one single invoice. This creates a unique and personalized experience where customers are able to interact with the company in three distinct areas with different objectives and policies. However, is this important for the customer? No. People buy a brand or service because of what it has to offer or what it means to them, not because of a particular business area.

The brand can be seen as an “umbrella” which interacts with customers. Simplicity, flexibility, personalization, one-way acquisition and customer knowledge are the main advantages that this path offers businesses.

There is an essential element in this system which is none other than COMMUNICATION. Communication must be used as a proactive tool rather than a reactive tool where businesses can set up communication channels with their customers throughout the life of their relationship.

In conclusion, different customers with varied motivations find solutions tailored to their situation, because it is the customer who decides the what, how and when. This is the real differentiator because they decide if their experience was adequate and therefore remain as customers and create long-term relationships with that business.

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