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Tech Viewpoint: A real path to purchase–four channels and four steps

A recent transaction perfectly illustrates how many channels the average consumer uses in the process of making a purchase.

As a fan of both books and comedy, I can say “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” the recent memoir (or “sortabiography”) from legendary Monty Python cofounder Eric Idle, is a great read. But of more interest to the Chain Store Age audience than a book review is a brief recap of how as a consumer I used four channels while following the classic four-step path to purchase.

Awareness – As seen on TV
While watching a late-night talk show, I was excited to see Eric Idle, one of my all-time comedy heroes, as a guest. I was even more excited to see him discuss the recent memoir he had published.

Knowing I would soon be taking a long round trip flight to attend the recent Chain Store Age SPECS 2019 physical retail conference, I made a mental note to look further into Idle’s new book as a possible plane read. Thanks to TV, I was now aware of the product.

Consideration – Open up the laptop
As SPECS grew closer, I decided it was time to find out a little more about the book. Although I assumed it would be hilariously entertaining (and it is), I wanted to read reviews from other customers who had already bought it. Also, getting an idea of the price, especially where it is still only available in hardcover, seemed like a good idea.

So I opened my trusty laptop (I’m a Gen Xer), went to the website of a leading e-commerce platform, and checked out the listing. User reviews were generally positive – I discarded the rantings of Monty Python fanatics who would give five stars to Eric Idle’s grocery list and also grouches without a funny bone. And the price seemed fair for a new hardcover.

Decision – A moving offer
A day or two after researching the book, I received a mobile notification of a new email from a well-known national book chain. It informed me that for one day only, I would receive a 15% discount on any online purchase, including click-and-collect transactions.

I checked the price on the retailer’s mobile site and saw that the book would be cheaper than on the e-commerce platform with the targeted discount. Also, the retailer has a brick-and-mortar location within 20 minutes of my home, meaning I could avoid delivery fees and wait times. I decided to make the purchase.

Action – Crossing the channels
I prefer to make purchases on a computer rather than on a mobile device (again, I’m a Gen Xer), so I reopened my trusty laptop, entered my one-day discount code, and bought the book. I scheduled it for pickup an hour later in the store.

Once there, I briefly waited in line and then showed the very helpful cashier my license. She looked up the purchase by my name and retrieved it, already bagged. My entire time inside the store was less than five minutes.

There you have it. One purchase, four channels, four steps. Eric Idle’s stories are far more entertaining than mine, but do less to bring omnichannel commerce to life. Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more…
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