Millennials’ perspective on multiple distribution channels
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Theoretical background: The idea of multichanneling gained popularity in the late 1990s mostly due to the development of the Internet. Distribution changed from using single to several channels and integrating them, which allowed consumers to access multiple channels at every stage of the buyer decision process. Using multiple channels is referred to as multi-, cross-, or omni-channelling, depending on the level of channel interaction and integration. Transforming distribution from multi-, to omni-channelling can require important and expensive changes in the organization. In Poland, most of the retailers do not meet the requirements of omnichanneling, which leaves the consumers mostly with the experience of multi-, and cross-channelling distribution.Purpose of the article: The purpose of this article is to explore the consumer journey of Millennials in multichannel shopping by examining the usage of distribution channels by Generation Y and preferences about the delivery of products bought online. The factors that can encourage them to choose online channel and click-and-collect delivery more often are also investigated.Research methods: To test the hypotheses, literature research and quantitative study was implemented using an online survey (CASI). The study involved a group of 266 respondents from Generation Y and was conducted in January 2019. Research results were also compared to the prior research found in the literature.Main findings: Research results show that online channels are more popular for information seeking by Millennials but traditional stores are preferred by them for purchase decisions. There is also diversity in the channels used for purchasing researched group of products, which shows that integrating the channels in selected aspects may provide a more positive buying experience and create loyalty. Aspects differentiating multi- and cross-channels from omnichannels, such as lower prices and special offers in online stores, can increase the usage of online channels. The popularity of mobile devices is not well used in distribution channels – it is more popular to use a store’s website on a smartphone than a mobile application to purchase a product. Generation Y is also more likely to use the effect of ROPO (webrooming) than reversed-ROPO (showrooming). The aspects well known for omnichanneling can increase the popularity of click-and-collect among Millennials.
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