What is Multichannel Retail…

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What is Multichannel Retail, Why Should You Get on Board and How Can You Make the Best of it?

Multichannel retail is the current newest trend in the retail sector at the moment but do you actually know what it is, why you should be doing it and how you can reap the benefits of it? This article does it’s best to explain multichannel retail, giving you the basics of what multichannel means, why it can help your business to grow and how you can get the full advantage.

Multichannel retail – what is it?

Multichannel retail is the process of selling to customer’s directly using a mixture of many different sales channels.  These include, but are not necessarily limited to, retail ‘bricks and mortar’ shops, online webstores and online marketplaces. 

Multichannel retail – Why should I take the plunge?

• Access to a much larger potential market by putting yourself in front them where they are actually looking to shop. This might be a person in the high street, browsing the web or searching online marketplaces like eBay or Amazon for products. In fact the same consumer may be using all these channels in their buying cycle so by having a presence on all of them you increase the chance of them buying from you, rather than a competitor.

• No longer be dependent on one channel. If you are suffering in the recession because high street sales have decreased and you’re only trading from a retail store then things are quickly going to start looking pretty bleak. Having alternative streams of revenue which bring sales in when times are hard, your business will be at less risk.

• Some products might sell for more on a different channel. Certain might be more suited to a different sales channel, items that need to be touched or tried on tend to sell better in ‘bricks and mortar’ store, whereas items that require little or no physical handling for a consumer to make a purchase decision and can easily be compared and researched online are likely to sell better from an online shop. Online marketplaces on the other are full of people looking for unusual or discount items so this is a good place to get rid of niche stock or sale items. It just makes more sense to tailor your sales channels so that you get the best profit possible for the products you are selling.

How can sell you more via multiple channels?

• Give your website a workout

When it comes to your website as a sales channel it’s quality is what will make or break it. You need to build your customer’s trust of your business and having a top notch design is a big part of this, it needs to look beautiful, fit with your brand and be simple to navigate. It needs to run quickly too so don’t bulk it out with unnecessary good or huge images.
Your product pages need to be clear and easy to read (with good spelling and grammar), make sure visitors can quickly and easily find all the information they might need in order to convert into a customer. All items should have a variety of good quality images too.

Your checkout should be very easy to find with a clear call to action button for them to click on in order to make the purchase, and don’t forget to make your shipping policy easy to find as well. The checkout itself must be straightforward to complete as well. Remove any blockers or distractions that might holding up the process or drive customers away, and build trust by displaying secure payment method on the page.

• Point of sale software

POS (point of sale) can speed up efficiencies when it comes to sales. You are able to synchronise your cash till(s) to your inventory meaning you staff can access any information about your products, such as price, location, and availability, right from the till. You are able to speed up the process of making sales, and can answer customer’s questions extremely quickly. Staff are less frustrated, customers are more satisfied, and you gain extra to make more sales.

• Integrated inventory

By having one central inventory management software system across all of your sales channels you gain the ability for real time information about products to be automatically updated across all your sales channels. This way you’ll never accidentally sell the same product twice leaving one customer disappointed waiting for a new item to come into your warehouse. Shipping is on time, every time, so your customers get what they want when you promised it to them. You only every need to update a product’s details once rather than multiple times, saving you more time to sell more.

• Customer service is key

Shipping the correct product, to arrive at the correct time is a big part of giving your customers a good service. If you can get this right you will find that the likelihood of customer’s coming back next time they need to make a purchase of something you sell, and they will be more likely to spread the word about your business too. You can use discounts and other incentives to encourage them to come back even more, either by giving them a discount on a receipt at the till, or by send deals via email.

Try to set it up so you have the facility to store customer’s contact details and information about what they have bought from you. This way you can make any marketing you do can be highly targeted, relevant and useful. Ideally get some CRM software that can manage this for you, and if you do use a CRM get one that can connect to an email marketing platform. This integration again will makes your sales channels more efficient as you will not need to spend time synchronising this data or re-entering it.

• Be savvy about your products

Any decent inventory management software will have a reporting function which you can use to give useful insight into your product lines. Look at which products are most profitable and on which channel. You can then divert sales of these items to the channel that they will make you the most money on.

You can also compare products against each other work out which are making you the most money and which are making you least. By interrogating these reports you can decide whether to buy or more of less of items, whether to cut product lines and plan out where it is best to sell certain items. Selling the highest number of products at the best price, now that’s efficiency.

Brightpearl is multichannel retail software and an end-to-end business management solution which integrates POS, ecommerce web store and online marketplace listings with inventory, accounts, order management, CRM and more. Designed to save small businesses time, help them to sell more and to enjoy happier customers.

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