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Market Case

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Throughout the history, the nature of a 'market' has expanded from a physical area in the centre of a town to embrace global markets, consumer markets, niche markets and abstract markets such as the stock markets and the currency markets. Over the time, various marketing theories evolved that changed and transformed the way in which businesses are carried on for example: Services Marketing (Shostack, 1977), Relationship Marketing (Berry, 1983) and Digital Marketing (Hoffman and Novak, 1997). Today, the Internet provides an 'electronic marketspace' where transactions occur signifying a shift from the traditional mass marketing to direct one-to-one marketing and hence obliging the retail industry to redefine itself.

This initial hype of electronic shopping was escorted by strong predictions of the demise of the high street retailer with online companies such as, which was being seen as the new retail giant. To fight back against these Internet 'pure- plays', the traditional 'bricks 'n' mortar' retailers have grappled a variety of innovative ways which seek to target consumers via both physical and electronic means, providing multiple routes to purchase, giving rise to the (Oinas 2001) 'clicks-&-mortar' (Charles Schwab, 1999) approach better known as multichannel marketing.

Defined as marketing strategies to enable firms to build lasting customer relationships by simultaneously offering consumers with information, products, services and/or support through two or more synchronized channels, multichannel marketing presents firms with numerous benefits and challenges. Unlike traditional marketing, where a firm interacted with different segments of the target customer through different channels, in multichannel marketing, customers are provided with alternative channels to reach the departments within the firm at their discretion and are allowed to choose different channels at different times.

Firms are attracted to adopt multichannel strategies as it promises new customers, enhances service quality and provides more adaptive consumer solutions (Rangaswamy & van Bruggen, 2005). This arrangement further has the ability to offer a number of service and price tiers, where the price varies according to the channel as noted by Zettelmeyer (2000), thereby enabling price segmentation strategies and profit maximization. Some firms view this as an opportunity to divert their low-value customers to low cost channels, such as self service web sites, while others view multichannel marketing as a means to target their high- value customers by providing them with more contact opportunities or touchpoints. Further more, multichannel shoppers have been found to spend more money (Myers, Pickersgill, & van Metre, 2004; Weinberg et al., 2007); buy more products (Kumar & Venkatesan, 2005); and be more loyal (Muller-lankenau, Wehmeyer, & Klein, 2005/6) than single channel customers

While multichannel marketing is here to stay- it is, in fact, further advancing with the advent of additional touchpoints such as wireless devices



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