integration of internet strategy and traditional ways of doing business


Michael Porter mentioned integrating traditional and internet strategies in his article “Strategy and the internet”. I would like to discuss with you a real life example of good internet strategy and integration of it.

Where I think of immediately when I try to think of companies I know both online and offline, clothing stores come the first in my mind. The best integration up to now I have seen in “The Sting”. The customer can browse for clothes on the website, put them on a customized online mannequin and use all sorts of sorting techniques to filter for the type of clothes he or she wants to find. There are 8(!) filters for the clothing type and several for the price/ popularity type. Why am I summing this up? Because I have seen several other webshops where browsing through clothes is much less efficient!

People who visit a webshop are often pressed for time/ not able to visit the physical store. Usually they have an idea of what they would like to find – this is why efficient filters help them perfectly. Also, a new category of customers is reached – people who do not enjoy a day of shopping, because they hate hours of searching for the right item. These people can simply filter out their preferences.

This were actually points as far as the internet strategy itself is concerned.

Now about the integration. The most preferred strategy seen from a consumer side is one where webshop and stores sell the same clothing but through different channels. This way the customer knows what to expect. He/ she can check out the website while having some spare time, order it online and then come and pick it up at the shop (or have it delivered home). This way best of both strategies is used: the easiness of browsing for clothes on the internet and going to the store to be able to try the clothes on and get a feel of them.

For the stores, this strategy is good as well. The majority of its customers will still come to shop to the store, however, being able to browse through the options beforehand, they are less likely to leave the shop empty-handed because they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Also, if the shop offers the option to pick up ordered clothes at the store, there will be quite some people doing it, because it is cheaper to them. This way the shopping time haters would still come by the store and perhaps also by an extra item (was on sale and caught their eye for example).

Judging from the opinions of my friends and family, I could safely say that a well-integrated strategy also leads to improved customer satisfaction and greater loyalty.

Do you know a good/ bad example of webshop/ physical store integration?

 

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2 responses to “integration of internet strategy and traditional ways of doing business”

  1. jmpteuwen says :

    I believe the company Cooblue is also a good example of a physical/webstore integration. They are ‘famous’ for their great customer service, and put the same effort in customer service in the physical store. In your blog you also mentioned the ability to pick up online orders in the store, which is also possible at the Cooblue store. For example, if you order a phone with a subscription from the online store, and select pick up at the physical store, the advisor will help you start up your phone and your new sim card, so you can use it right a way. I think this is, like you described, very comfortable for the customer. They know what to expect from the store, what kind of products they offer and are happy to help you with your choices. The design of their webstore is also quite like their design of the physical store. This way the consumer sees the individual stores as one.

  2. 349699ks says :

    I think H&M and Inditex (Zara, Pull&Bear) are doing quite a good job as well. These companies have an app for your smartphone or tablet which enables you to browse and purchase products on the go! The design used in the apps resembles the design used in the webshops which in turn captures the look of the physical stores, just like Cooblue. As mentioned in the previous comment I think this helps to narrow the perspective of the customer, The Zara and Pull&Bear app also have an additional functionality. Customers can enjoy a better shopping experience in store by scanning the QR Codes of apparel to easily get information about items, colors and sizes. I think this is a great way to integrate the physical store with the e-store! H&M is also experimenting with QR Codes. They had a Pilot running in their new branche in Germany where they had a promotional campaign that was based around the use of QR Codes. Personally I use the aforementioned apps quite often, more than the websites, when I’m in the train travelling to work or school. In these times I think having your webstore available in an app is a great service to offer your customers and set foot in the mobile marketing landscape. Besides the advantages a traditional webstore offers companies would be able to expand their internet strategy to the populair world of the apps and increase customer satisfaction and/or sales. For instance, After opening a webstore Zara received a lot of complaints because it was not optimized for mobile use. Having taken the feedback on board Zara launched an iPhone app, followed by a series of apps for Android, Windows, and BlackBerry. These moves significantly increased ZARA’s sales by 60% in 2013! How great is that!

    Reference – http://www.scanlife.com/blog/2014/03/how-the-biggest-apparel-brands/

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