An excellent article by Peter Ryan in Inside Retailing cautions retailers from going down the path that information technology vendors are trying to sell us. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Peter warns against blindly following the pack.
Putting your products and prices up against the bigger operators online can lead to being crucified because price becomes the main game and online businesses have the advantage with high volume, low cost operations. In fact, most customers don’t buy price. Price is just one aspect of an all round retail offering that includes many aspects of customer service and experience. If your retailing advantage is in the breadth of your offer why would you subject yourself to competition that is limited only to the price factor?
We have been guilty of endorsing the online, multi-channel merry-go-round on this blog. Giving your customers a variety of options can be a good thing but maybe we should take a step back and carefully evaluate how multi-channelling can benefit us and whether we are better off concentrating on the advantages we have like offering great face-to-face customer service.
Food for thought - we'd like your comments.