I just read yet another article about multi-channel buyers that has me scratching my head. It’s a common argument that multi-channel buyers -– those that buy through some combination of online, on the phone and in stores — are more valuable than single-channel buyers so we should all try to entice buyers to use multiple channels.
It’s a known fact that multi-channel buyers almost always have a higher average value than single-channel buyers. They’re presumably more engaged with your product, and so have a higher likelihood of buying more.
I get lost at the conclusion many people then reach: that it’s a worthy marketing goal to convert buyers to multiple buying channels. Give your customers an incentive to use a second or third buying channel, the argument goes, and they’ll become one of those valuable multi-channel buyers.
If Staples sends me a $20 off coupon good for in-store use only, I may go to the store just this once rather than order online. Their offer “artificially” shifts my buying habits on a one-time basis, but doesn’t do anything to make me a more valuable customer to them – and indeed costs them the $20 discount.
If your experience proves otherwise, I’d love to hear about it!