Creating seamless experiences between online and offline channels - A consumer perspective
Abstract: Background: Multichannel retailing is today a widespread and growing phenomenon, as consumers are increasingly consuming through multiple channels. By integrating their online and offline channels, there is a possibility for retailers to create seamless experiences for consumers, regardless of the channel used. This concerns the ability for consumers to purchase across and move in-between these channels while interacting with the company, in a seamless manner. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the factors underlying consumers’ perceptions of a seamless experience between the online and offline channels of a company. Research questions: What do consumers perceive to be a seamless channel experience? What factors underlie consumers’ perceptions of a seamless channel experience? Methodology: This study is of qualitative nature, taking use of focus groups for the collection of data. Conclusion: The findings of this research indicate that the brand image, product assortment, pricing and promotion of a company should correspond between their online and offline channels and thereby actively address the expectations that consumers hold. Meanwhile, the product information and fulfilment as well as technology of a company should be designed in a way to best integrate the two channels with each other. Being met by this approach, enables consumers to perceive that their experience between the online and offline channels of the company is seamless. Derived from discussions regarding this are similarities in what is associated with perceiving a seamless experience, translated into the three aspects of convenience and availability, customer comprehension, and uniform company identity, which stand for the desire of consumers to eliminate interruptions in the usage between the two channels, allowing for the perception of a seamless experience.
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