What is it about?

Contrary to popular belief, customers who are shopping do not seem to change mindsets when switching between offline and online channels. The article shows that the attributes consumers use for evaluating offline and online channels mirror each other. The authors introduce the 5C model of customer satisfaction, which shows that five “mirror” features are mainly responsible for customer satisfaction in multichannel environments. Those channel features that have corresponding attributes in the counterpart channel should be the focus of designing parallel routes to market. The five “Cs” of satisfaction relate to choice (assortment breadth and depth), charge (availability of fair prices), convenience (efficiency of the purchase process), confidence (security of transactions), and care (assurance of promised quality).

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Why is it important?

The 5C model improves the measurement of multichannel performance because it lets the firm keep an eye on both offline and online satisfaction in a consistent manner. The paper provides a unified view of channels that helps marketers monitor the performance of basic shopping attributes in both traditional and digital formats. The presented tool allows managers to benchmark channel-specific satisfaction scores.


A major benefit of our 5C model is its direct linkage to budget allocation decisions. As we pinpoint in the article, a channel’s share of investment should match its unexploited satisfaction potential. Therefore, managers ideally invest greater marketing effort in the channel indicating lower absolute satisfaction levels. Interestingly, the 5C model can also be used to optimize within-channel decisions.

Dr Maik Hammerschmidt
Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Channels in the Mirror, Journal of Service Research, June 2015, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1094670515589084.
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