Cross-Channel enables a cross-distribution channel purchasing process in which customers combine different sales channels as part of their information and purchasing process. The customer orders his inventory in the online shop, for example, and then picks it up in the local store.

If the sales channels are still to be treated separately in the multi-channel sales type, the channels (online – also mobile, stationary, catalog) can be linked together in the cross-channel type. For example, the customer has the option of handling the purchasing process across all channels. He or she can start it on one of the offered channels and continue or finish it on another.

Requirements for Cross-Channel

To enable this information transfer from one channel to another smoothly, centralized and consistent data on customers and products across all channels is required. In practice, this means that the same offer from the local store, or parts of it, can also be found in the corresponding web store or catalog, and everything together is based on a database, the participating warehouses, the inventory and a customer database.

Important: The underlying IT or payment system is still, as with multichannel, tailored to the individual channels and cannot be combined. Example: The inventory ordered online must also be paid online.

Cross-Channel Examples:

  • The customer starts a product inquiry online (chat, e-mail, webshop research), orders the product online and picks it up at the local store, the point of sale. In this context, the term click and collect or in-store pickup is used.
  • The customer researches offline and orders the product online. This variant has limitations, however. Offline information about the customer is harder to map to the online world. Voucher codes that are issued locally and personalized and promise discounts in the web store are a remedy.
  • The customer buys the items in a stationary store and has them delivered to his home.

Known cross-channel terms:

  • ROPO – Research Online, Purchase Offline
  • Click and Collect / In-Store Pick Up
  • Click-and-Reserve

Cross-Channel und die Customer Journey

If all channels are linked together in a comprehensible way, a provider is able to read out the so-called customer journey and apply its conclusions to all available channels. Customer Journey refers to the observation of a potential customer who contacts a supplier via the various touchpoints (stationary trade, online store) and finally carries out a target action (purchase, order, inquiry). The target action can extend over several hours and days, but can also be completed in a few minutes.

In a nutshell:

There are only minimal differences between multi-channel and cross-channel. Only the central database in the cross-channel variant and the associated possibility of making customers more transparent by means of “customer journeys” are recognizable additions. In addition, a purchasing process via several channels is possible.

Further information on this topic can be found in the articlesE-Commerce, Same Day Delivery and Information in Intralogistics.

Teaser image: Stefan Rajewski –

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