Provide Integrated Solutions, Not Piecemeal Products

In the last decade, there has been an interesting shift toward convenient integrated solutions. A good example is the Microsoft Office Suite. The Microsoft office product has made significant contribution in the Microsoft’s Revenue since customers love its integrated functionality. In fact, core design objective in many of their products is seamless integration.

This trend can be observed in retailing. Customers are increasingly demanding one-stop, all-under-one-roof solutions. In response, the retail industry has created various models: One-stop life-needs providers (e.g., Wal-Mart), one-stop life-style providers (e.g., The Gap) and one-stop life-path providers (e.g., Toys “R” Us).

The trend of life-needs integration can be observed in the success of the Wal-Mart superstore, which is marketed as an integrated retailer for the busy, price-sensitive shopper. Wal-Mart’s execution of one-stop shopping has increased customer loyalty, the number of items sold per transaction and the average transaction size.

An example of lifestyle integration trend is Gap in the apparel retailing business. The Gap provides a great illustration of a company that has effectively marketed an image to its customers. Gap mannequins are outfitted with three or four layers of shirts, blue jeans, a belt, a baseball cap, sun glasses, socks, shoes, gloves, and a knapsack.

Toys are a model of life path integration. Consider the strategy of Toys “R” Us, a life-path retailer for kids that sells to parents. The Toys “R” Us marketing strategy is three-pronged: baby goods at Babies “R” Us, kids’ clothes at Kids “R” Us and toys at Toys “R” Us.

What does this trend mean e-business?

Consumers don’t need another retailer of another electronic distribution channel. They want integrated-service offering businesses that solve their one-stop shopping needs.