Jul 4, 2008
For retailers and consumers, Cross-channel retailing is a reality. It may not be prevalent right now but it will be in the next two years.
First-movers, emerging as clear leaders in the second half of 2008, will reap the benefits of early investment. Competitors will feel the pinch, not just when analysing next year’s annual results to see what went wrong, but more immediately as the weeks and months pass by without being able to formulate a coherent response.
OK, you’ve heard it all before, many times over, ever since the emergence of the web a decade ago as first a showcase and then as a retail channel in its own right. You heard it five years ago when the mobile industry began touting the notion of presence-based one-to-one marketing. And you also heard elements of it twenty years ago when the deployment of distributed IT systems promised to integrate retail, point-of-sale, warehousing, distribution and just-in-time logistics to span the entire supply chain in a pre-Internet universe.
This time it’s different (and you’ve heard that one before as well). This time the technology actually exists to help implement what’s promised. This time the experience and processes are in place to make it a reality. This time round, above all, you’ve got no choice but to make it happen. Everything that’s happened before, whatever the hype, can be seen now in retrospect as a stuttering step to where we are today, a precipice leading to an inevitable future of inextricably linked channels from which retailers, whatever their size, cannot dare contemplate stepping back.
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