Starting at Christmas this year, House of Fraser is hoping to create what it calls “shoppable windows.” In essence that means customers standing outside a store will be able to check out products in the various window displays and buy them online without going inside. The key is electronic beacons fitted to mannequins, which will connect customers to online catalogues. By setting up window displays in this way, the store chain says it will enable customers to make purchases after hours or on holidays when shops are closed. Equally important, the aim is also to encourage customers to buy online. At present about 70% don’t.
Initiatives such as these demonstrate the difference between multi-channel and omni-channel retailing.
In the multi-channel world, customers are simply given a choice of purchase and browsing options. They can buy in-store, online, or perhaps over the phone, depending on what is most convenient. The retailer – or indeed any kind of merchant or service provider – simply offers the various channels without necessarily seeing them as part of a joined up strategy. Continue reading