Multi-channel: Is this where growth opportunities are?

Some of the country’s biggest retailers are seeing strong results both online and on the high street, begging the question, is multi-channel where the growth opportunities are?

Marks & Spencer clearly thinks this is the case, as it has announced that it intends extend its ‘bricks and clicks’ approach to international growth by building flagship stores and offering online selling, according to Internet Retailing.

The retailer intends to focus on encouraging growth within existing markets, and those emerging in India, China, Russia, the Middle East and Western Europe. It will build 250 new stores over the next few years, with the aims of increasing international turnover by 25 per cent and profit by 40 per cent.

Marc Bolland, M&S’s chief executive, said: “Our strategy of becoming an international, multichannel retailer is more relevant than ever before because of the strong growth potential of international markets. We are focusing on flagship stores to deliver brand presence and stand-out.”

Today (April 4th), Vodafone launched a similar strategy, aiming to open 150 new stores as part of £1 billion investment this year, suggesting that the high street is still attracting customers.

It appears that big companies are seeing being multi-channel a way increase sales and improve their services. By offering customers the choice of visiting a physical or virtual shop they are allowing the customer to have a flexible shopping experience.

Some retailers even offer a ‘click and collect’ service, whereby they order the goods online but pick the package up from the store, meaning they won’t miss a home delivery.

This means that companies will be looking for firms that can offer an efficient service when delivering to a customer’s house and to the shop.

SmartTask POD enables companies to manage peak volumes, tracking and tracing incoming and outgoing deliveries.

Downloaded onto an incumbent worker’s smartphone, ruggedised or semi-ruggedised device – including the Motorola TC55 touch computer – the mobile software can run alongside Skillweb’s Houndit technology or a carrier’s current system.

When consumers choose their delivery option during a purchase, the information sent to a carrier relating to the order can be used by the software to generate a communication to the recipient via email or SMS stating an approximate delivery slot. This is based on how long it takes to get from a warehouse to the customer.

Posted by Amy Quayle

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