Updating a Research Tradition by Examining the Effect of New High Tech Channels on Consumer Search and Integrated Marketing: A Framework for Teaching

As computers became more powerful in the late 80s and early 90s, large marketers began to try to push what became known as customer relationship management . Specifically, they began to evaluate various channels and how consumers navigated among them when making purchase decisions. Most of the examples at that time were anecdotal, and obviously considered traditional channels, both retail and direct. These included retail, direct mail, print, television, radio, telephone, early email, and a small amount of Internet. The impact of the Internet on new ways consumers navigate among the channels to collect information and make purchase decisions was studied in a number of key papers, including “The Impact of the Internet and consumer motivation on evaluation of prices” (Suri, Long and Monroe, 2003). Direct (now integrated) marketing was particularly affected by the new web-oriented channels, and has been affected even more by the latest social and mobile entries. Now that the Internet and email have matured, and print is waning as a channel, the social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and mobile have become the primary channels for at least the younger consumer to search for information and make purchase decisions. If academia is to remain relevant and continue to evaluate consumer shopping behavior of the twenty-first century, it would be useful to revisit these channel navigation issues. The biggest change is that the new channels are internet-integrated so the entire process has changed.