Multi-channel retailers are out-performing online-only ("pure-play") retailers, and the multi-channel's market value reflects this success. A Bain & Company analysis shows that multi-channel retailers succeed when they define distinct roles for each channel, use the web as a customer-acquisition tool, and work hard to convert browsers into buyers. To help get this last part right, the authors isolate key defection points-critical moments when retailer are apt to lose customers. For retailers, the key to making the most of the Internet depends on correctly determining the Internet's strategic role in relation to other channels and investing in that role.
This article was printed in Business Strategy Review Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 2001, published for London Business School by Blackwell Publishers. It was part of a feature on consumer e-commerce which also contained articles on "What Experts Predict, 2000-2010" and "TV, PC or Mobile?" For an index, subscription and other details, see www.london.edu/bsr.