Real shops, online shops or both? The ICT trade is looking for new business models. According to market researchers companies need a cross-channel strategy.
"The line between individual channels is disappearing. Customers no longer think in terms of channels – they want to move seamlessly between the digital and physical worlds," says Michael Hubrich, Senior Vice President Sales CEC MEE at hybris software. "This presents a challenge to resellers. They need to offer the best of both worlds to customers across all channels. That means that all channels and interaction services need to be coordinated to provide a consistent buying experience and they need to know their customers intimately in order to provide them with personalized support."
Together with the E-Commerce Center (ECC Köln) at the Institute for Trade Research (IFH), SAP spin-off hybris published the study "Cross-Channel in a State of Upheaval" mid-2015. According to this consumer survey, almost two-thirds of German Internet users are "selective online shoppers" who make their purchases both online and in stores. Only about eight percent of those surveyed would rather not shop online.
"The traditional retail buyer is dying out, but retail stores are not"
A look at the younger demographic reveals that only a minority of them will shop exclusively online in the future. Across all product groups, consumers go online first to get information for four out of ten purchases made at actual stores."
Cross-channel is the subject of hot debate not only in the B2C area, but also at IT system vendors. B2B challenges include for example transferring service and consulting expertise to online activities. A study carried out by IFH Köln on the subject of cross-channel marketing in the B2B trade shows that intense interaction occurs between the different sales channels. "Just under a third of business customers get information in a personal discussion before making a purchase in an online shop," says IFH Managing Director Dr. Kai Hudetz. "A cross-channel business orientation therefore contributes to keeping the customer with the company until the purchase is made."
The extent to which the IT trade in total is on the road to cross-selling will present itself at Planet Reseller at CeBIT 2016. Software providers and system vendors will be addressing corresponding questions both at the forum and at the exhibition stands in Halls 14 and 15. These will deal with using online shops to increase POS frequency by having consumers pick up online orders at the actual shop, or the question of what is needed in terms of software to implement a seamless cross-channel experience with no breaks in the media – for example using merchandise planning and control systems.