Retailers look to own multichannel consumers

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Traditional retailers today are marshalling their online resources to complement their brick-and-mortar stores, and retail pharmacies have an opportunity to use websites, social networking, smartphone applications and various combinations thereof to own multichannel customers.

(THE NEWS: BTS shoppers plan to use Web-enabled smartphones, social networks to save this year. For the full story, click here.)

In the coming years, there’s a good chance that more and more consumers will turn to such technologies as online coupons and apps that allow smartphones to be used like credit cards, making the multichannel customer increasingly important to retailers’ marketing strategies.

As Drug Store News reported in its May 30 issue, Walgreens has found that multichannel customers carry three times the value of single-channel customers, as about half of those visiting Walgreens.com end up going to the store. Walgreens SVP e-commerce Sona Chawla noted mobile phones are helping to bring the online and offline channels together.

Social media offer another new channel. Walgreens uses Facebook to collect customer feedback, while CVS Caremark used Facebook and Twitter to launch a Beauty Club program. Meanwhile, Kroger created a Spanish-language microsite to target Hispanic customers for its baby products line.

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