In the retail world, marketers often speak of "channels." Channels are the different methods of purchasing interaction between the customer and the seller. For example, the web, the phone, and storefronts are all examples of different channels.

In a recent issue of Customer Relationship Managament magazine, an article noted that retail outlets with multiple channels for purchase have two to four times the spend of those with only one channel. In other words, the more purchase avenues and opportunities you offer your customer, the more they spend with you.

I'm wondering how much thought associations give to this concept. What are your channels? Most associations offer sales through their website, through the phone, and possibly through brochure/catalog sales. Some associations (though not all) may also have "retail" operations during their annual meeting or other meetings.

What about you? What channels are you using? And are all the channels integrated (i.e., you're managing all the sales through one unified database)?