September 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

Easier said than done

Retailers struggle with cross-channel consistency.

Most consumers don't think in terms of channels. They think in terms of brands, regardless of whether they're shopping in a store, over the phone, or via computer, tablet or smartphone. That's why most retailers agree that it's important to offer consistency across all channels, according to a recent survey of 66 retailers by research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research LLC. However, that's easier to say than to do. "Easy, customer-facing things like advertising and marketing messages have been fairly well consolidated," write authors Nikki Baird and Brian Kilcourse. "The most important thing is still relatively unconsolidated across channels. That would be the customer shopping experience." Pleasing consumers who shop across channels is particularly important, says the report, because 38% of retailers say that cross-channel shoppers are "significantly more profitable than single-channel shoppers."

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