Multichannel Strategy in Perspective: The Consumer Experience at the Heart of Marketing Policy

Rui Li, Gilles Paché, Carole Poirel


Since the early 2000s, distribution channels have undergone a deep transformation in developed countries, but also in developing countries. While physical sales structures (stores, branches) have been, for a very long time, the preferred means for consumers to access products or services, the explosion of the Internet channel has radically changed the foundation of consumer experience. The multiplication of physical and virtual touchpoints is a new economic reality that leads consumers to live a total consumption experience, including migrating from one distribution channel to another with great ease. The background of the investigation is thus based on a major transformation: the great volatility of the consumer, quickly moving from one touchpoint to another. This volatility destabilizes manufacturing and retailing firms, whose customers used only one type of channel in the past and forces them to deeply rethink their marketing policy. Companies must learn to implement an efficient multichannel strategy, at the risk of losing market share in an extremely competitive environment. This paper uses literature on multichannel strategy to highlight three essential dimensions: the identification of multichannel strategy accelerators, the paradigm shift implied by a multichannel strategy and the original consumer migration paths that a multichannel strategy must take into account.

Keywords: consumer experience, distribution channels, Internet, migration, multichannel, retailing, touchpoints.

DOI: 10.7176/JMCR/59-03

Publication date: August 31st 2019


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