Study Shows Multi-channel as the Way to Go

Jul 09, 2002
George Anderson

Retailers have embraced multi-channel retailing, according to a new survey released yesterday by Gartner Consulting, Stamford, Conn. Nearly 75 percent of respondents either have a multi-channel retailing strategy (MRS) in place or are planning to begin one, reports DM News.

From September to December 2001, Gartner Consulting conducted phone interviews with 375 retailers in the United States and Europe to examine their intentions of implementing an MRS. One-third of the study’s respondents have an MRS in place while 27 percent are in the internal-discussion phase. Fourteen percent have already initiated discussions with technology vendors.

The survey showed that the company Web site tops the list of upgrade plans. Forty-five percent of respondents plan to replace, re-engineer, upgrade or develop systems in this area. The next most popular targets for upgrade were point-of-sale systems, database management systems and in-store devices, as each of these categories was selected by 39 percent of the respondents.

As far as systems’ importance to company retail operations was concerned, point-of-sale, with 67 percent of the respondents’ vote, ranked number one, followed by supply chain/logistics management with 13 percent, customer relationship management with 11 percent, and merchandise planning with nine percent.

Moderator Comment: Has developing a multi-channel strategy become a competitive prerequisite for retailers?

The immediate need for a MRS varies by trade channel. Eventually, however, it will become a basic requirement for competing for the consumer’s share of mind and wallet. [George Anderson – Moderator]

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