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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 13932
From brick-and-mortar to Click-and-Mortar: a comparative case study on multichannel retail strategy implementation as a practice
Author: Lönnblad, Susanna
Title: From brick-and-mortar to Click-and-Mortar: a comparative case study on multichannel retail strategy implementation as a practice
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; myynti; sales; strategia; strategy
Pages: 100
Key terms: multichannel retail strategy; multichannel retailing; strategy implementation; strategy-as-practice
This thesis aims to explore multichannel retail strategy implementation within SMEs, and to specifically understand how the interrelated constructs of intra-organisational structures and managerial processes shape this practice over time. The study adopts a unique strategy-as-practice theoretical point-of-view on the multichannel retailing phenomenon in order to examine the daily work of managers in multichannel companies. This allows the thesis to uncover central structures and meaning-making processes of key strategy practitioners, as well as to outline twelve managerial suggestions for practice.

The study conducted a qualitative intensive comparative case study analysis on two Finnish SMEs, operating in the clothing and design industries respectively. The primary data collection included two pre-interviews with experts and five case study interviews with middle and senior managers. The researcher conducted these interviews as in-depth semi-structured interviews. The research utilized also complementary secondary resources, such as press releases, newspaper and magazine articles, to form an overall understanding of the case companies' strategy implementation during the past years. A constructionist research philosophy and an abductive research logic underlined the case study analysis. In line with this approach, the study developed a flexible guiding theoretical framework. The thesis endeavours to provide an in-depth description on the case companies' idiosyncrasies and commonalities.

The findings suggest that multichannel retail strategy implementation represents an ongoing and complex practice. Intra-organisational structures and managerial processes may either enable or hinder this endeavour. Structures represent the backbone of multichannel retailing, while, processes emerge as the differentiating factor of sales management in a click-and-mortar business. A lack of resource allocation, strategic focus and organisation-wide commitment may lead to a viscous strategy implementation circle. Moreover, appropriate IT-systems, enabling cross-channel data integration and multichannel performance measurement metrics, form the foundation for efficient multichannel retail operations. Effective multichannel retailing also seems to hinge on daily precise coordinating skills, optimistic strategy championing and continuous diplomatic communication across sales channels. This study also sheds light on emergent sensemaking mechanisms such as demystification and simplification, affecting managerial evaluations of suitable multichannel retail strategy tactics. Finally, the research indicates that multichannel retail strategy development becomes on a tactical level an individual learning journey and a context-specific practice for SMEs.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.