Making It Easy to
Work with IT"> As long as retailers are breaking down barriers separating online and offline sales operations, they might as well make it easy for software to be distributed and used without IT interference, the report said. A Web site, for example, is a great means to inexpensively and quickly test different campaign messages and then be able to apply those lessons to other areas of the business."For this type of modeling to be effective, however, it is critical to put marketing automation and campaign management tools directly in the hands of business users," the report said. "If marketers have to go to the IT department to request support to test a new idea, the hassles necessary to get this support result in new ideas going nowhere." The most popular cross-channel tactic is to allow consumers to use the Web to quickly conduct extensive research and to quickly find and pay for the items, but to then forgo the shipping costs and delays by picking it up at a nearby brick-and-mortar location. But a lesser-used approach is having consumers in brick-and-mortar locations be given access to online information while in the store. In theory, this would allow for a depth of information that is not practical on the shelves. Indeed, the use of stand-alone kiosks can deliver demonstrations and other multimedia-rich presentations in a manner that is faster, more stable and more elaborate than what is practical with even a broadband connection. To read more about how some major publishers are using Web to drive traffic to physical storefronts, click here. The Aberdeen report points out, however, that such efforts must be described carefully. "Sponsors and champions of these initiatives are very careful to avoid any mention of the word kiosks," the report said. "The dearth of return-on-investment dollars from previous kiosk investments has left a bad taste in the mouths of senior executives." Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman can be reached at Evan_Schuman@ziffdavis.com. Check out eWEEK.coms Retail Center for the latest news, views and analysis of this vital industry.
To read about whether store managers see corporate hoarding the CRM goodies, click here.