The idea of single channel government seems to be coming back into fashion – with the single channel being online, cheap and efficient, and transcending the immediate challenge that up to 40% of the population can’t see the point of the internet.

Worth reminding ourselves that multi-channel is the new online.  From Technology Review:

The business jargon for this model of integrated retail sales is “multichanneling”that is, fusing digital services with in-store, mail-order, and telephone sales, and with any other retail channels. The digerati have called it “clicks and mortar” since the Internet boom of the 1990s. No matter the term, it is now the driving force in retail…

Chart of internet sales influenceNew technologies and ideas are allowing retailers to remove the wall between online shopping and in-store shopping, and to make the gathering of customer data both easier and more valuable. Advanced data-mining and Web analytics techniques now examine not just what you bought online but what you viewed, helping retailers design promotions that will entice you to shop online and in stores.  These enticements will themselves arrive over multiple channels – through magazines, regular mail, e-mail, the Web, and wireless transmissions to your car or shopping cart…

Online retail spending soared 26 percent last year, to $66.5 billion, according to business analysis and advisory firm Jupiter Research…  But that’s just a small part of the e-commerce story. Last year, another $355 billion in retail sales took place in physical stores after consumers had done their homework online. Overall, says Jupiter, for every $1 consumers spend online, they spend $6 dollars offline as a result of research conducted on the Internet.


  1. Which strengthens an arguement that what we should be concentrating on delivering online is not transactions but information, usefully structured to arm the customer (or intermediary) with the information they require in order to undertake a more efficient ‘right first time’ transaction. This is a particularly strong arguement for Directgov propositions where tools such as entitlement calculators, personalised step by step guides through the maze etc. could strengthen its USP. But, it requires thought out information design – screeds of text, reordered depending upon which route you get to it from, is not going deliver the equivilent public service of the multichanneling described here.

  2. careful about the words used here. Good information online is useful but a high percentage of customers, once informed, seek to complete the transaction there and then unless they are purchasing a touchy feely thing e.g. a car, a dress etc. I know these figures don’t translate to percentage take up but it sure is a big indication that our £5billion admin budget could be cut if we implement online transactions alongside and as part of good informative websites

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