Are traditional channel definitions outdated?

Is it time to relook the way we define channels? Some vehemently say that the traditional channel definitions need to be rehauled, others are a bit more cautious, preferring to avoid rocking the proverbial boat.

Mike Anthony, Shopper Marketing Experts’ resident expert, weighed in on the topic of traditional channel definitions. 

He says that “one of the first challenges is that the traditional definitions have been used for a long time.” 

He explains that anybody who has been monitoring the retail environment over the last five to ten years will have noted considerable changes. 

For instance, the way that people are behaving in-store has changed. The types of shops they are going to have changed. The way that shoppers are using the stores has changed. Therefore, a traditional definition may no longer apply.

Mike goes on to mention what he considers a second challenge. 

“Traditional channel models are the same for everybody; they are not personalised or tailored to your brand or business.

“Some businesses can effectively group together hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores. But this channel definition may be completely wrong for another business.”

So to effectively define a channel what needs to be understood? 

“At Shopper Marketing Experts, we believe that it all comes down to shoppers. We need a thorough understanding of which shoppers we are targeting and how they see different outlets. We also need to understand and interrogate how they use these various outlets for different shopper missions.”

Getting this channel definition correct is imperative, “because this allows us to determine which channels to prioritise and which activities to use in each of these channels. 

“But we cannot hope to succeed if we have not built shopper understanding into our channel definition. 

This understanding by way of the definition ensures that we are putting the right activity into the right channel and helps serve the target shoppers and change their shopper behaviour according to their shopper missions.

Sign up for our Effective Retail Marketing course for a comprehensive guide to establishing a more effective marketing approach.

October 8, 2019

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