New insights from practice: Exploring online channel management strategies and the use of social media as a market research tool

Philipp ‘Phil’ Klaus

Prof. Dr. Phil Klaus & Associates Consulting

Introduction

In only a few years, the internet established itself as a tool that not only changes the way we communicate, but also the way we do business. A true global communication medium, the internet has evolved as the primary source of information for billions of people. In the past five years, the number of internet users has doubled worldwide and, for more than 2 billion people, it is an integral part of their lifestyle. Online channels change the face of the retail environment, influencing both industries and markets variously. The digital age has arrived, and it is not only changing the way consumers make purchasing decisions, but also how companies do business and, in particular, conduct their market research activities. In the Unites States alone, nearly 50% of online consumers are advanced users of smartphones, social networks and other emerging tools (Nielsen 2010). This shift highlights changes in how consumers use core technologies. The retail banking service sector reacts to these consumer behaviour changes by progressively offering more – and more sophisticated – online and activity-analysis tools to compete for contemporary, digitalised consumers (Hardey 2011a; Kim & Ko 2012).