There’s so much choice available that customers can pick and choose who they buy from and where, when, and how it happens. They want to discover, research, evaluate, and purchase on their preferred channel. Give them that option, and they’re more likely to choose you. That’s the whole point behind the multi-channel approach.
Depending up on how you look at it, crowdsourcing is all the rage these days -- think Wikipedia, X Prize and Kickstarter -- or at the other extreme, greatly underused.