SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

Aberdeen Group

February 09, 2010 11:00 ET

Customer Preferences Are Driving Cross-Channel Retail Strategies

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - February 9, 2010) - The top pressure retail organizations face around cross-channel retailing is the need to address rapid changes in customer affinity for sales channels, according to the Aberdeen Group report Fast-Track Cross-Channel Gains: The Final Frontier for Customer Share of Wallet in Retail. Between December 2009 and January 2010, Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), surveyed 100 retail organizations to determine how leading retailers are utilizing cross-channel integration for a more convenient shopping experience.

"If retailers operate their channels as separate business units that never converge, it is difficult to contemplate an organizational set-up that can plan and execute a single brand identity. Besides business unit coordination, IT plays an essential role in unifying channels," says Sahir Anand, primary author and research director, Aberdeen.

In response to these pressures, retail organizations indicated that identifying new sales channel opportunities is their top strategic action. "Retailers that are currently without the mobile order, marketing, or related offering must seize the opportunity to grow their channel capabilities in line with the latest needs of their customers," states Chris Cunnane, co-author and senior research associate, Aberdeen.

A top capability to emerge from this study is the ability to track cross-channel performance analytics. "Cross-channel analytics are truly transformational as they enable a retailer to inspect, adjust, and deliver the customer promise which is the very essence of modern retailing," says Anand.

To improve cross-channel integration performance, Aberdeen data has shown that a migration to complimentary channels is of utmost importance. Aberdeen's analysis of leading organizations demonstrates that these companies have placed an increased focus on:

-- Implementing a mobile marketing application. Mobile marketing allows
   retailers to interact with their customers in nearly any location. By
   not implementing this technology, retailers are unable to take advantage
   of location-based promotions, smart posters, 2D barcode promotions, or
   social media applications within the mobile environment.

-- Executing a unified marketing plan for all channels of operations.
   Today's consumer is looking for a unified shopping experience across all
   channels, from a merchandising, pricing, and marketing standpoint.
   Retailers must ensure that their marketing messages are not telling
   conflicting stories based on the channel.

-- Developing capabilities to fulfill cross-channel customer order needs.
   The lack of unified cross-channel order management can lead to high
   customer attrition and high lost sales opportunities leading to wallet
   share loss for the retailer.

All of the above requirements, amongst others, are part of the winning strategy for cross-channel retailing.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Cactus Commerce, CrossView, and Junction Solutions. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=6289

Visit Research.Aberdeen.com for additional access to complimentary Retail Research.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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