Multichannel retailing refers to a system of reaching final customers in more than one way, especially going beyond, but not excluding the traditional brick-and-mortar stores. In a world dominated by far-flung technological revolution, global retailers are adopting new means to reach customers in better and efficient ways to maximize sales, profit, and ultimate customer satisfaction. Use of technology, especially online transactions, online and off-line catalog marketing, shopping channels etc. have opened up a new horizon of customer experiences.
In this backdrop of global developments, how far are we in Bangladesh in terms of reaping the benefits of multichannel retailing? While the adoption and use of multichannel retailing is praiseworthy in service sector, especially banks and financial institutions, the scenario is really bleak in consumer goods sector. While you can do almost any financial activity online, not to mention the impressive product called BKash or upcoming Prime Cash, it is almost a dreary idea to buy a book or an electronic item online in this country.
Two reasons may be attributed why we still prefer to personally step into a physically existing store for consumer goods transaction. First, there is a lack of trust in the whole system. Physically inspecting a product gives us more confidence that we would not be cheated online, because the shopkeeper might have packed a sub-standard product just to dump on us when purchased online. Second, the online payment system and physical transport infrastructure (particularly postal or courier service) is still very weak in our country. Even if we have confidence in the retailer, how do we securely pay online and where is the assurance that the postal service would be able to deliver it on time? Credit card frauds and online hacking are already sprawling in the system.