Reaching as many potential customers as possible is essential for businesses of all sizes. And whether you’re just in the planning stages of opening your first online store or you’re looking to take your existing brick-and-mortar business to the next level, multichannel retailing should be at the top of your list.
In a nutshell, multichannel retailing is the process of selling your products or services through different sales channels–think ecommerce, physical stores, marketplaces, social media, and even TV shopping networks. According to Zoho Inventory, it’s offering your target consumers more than one way to shop from you while potentially boosting your revenues.
Some Sales Channels You Can Explore
To give you a clearer idea of what we mean, here are some popular sales channels you can explore and possibly add to your business strategy:
Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have become go-to places not just for staying in touch with friends and family but also for discovering new products and brands. Because of FB’s Marketplace feature and IG’s shoppable posts, more and more people are using these platforms for their online shopping needs. In fact, 2 in every 3 shoppers worldwide have made a purchase through a social media platform in the year 2021.
Ecommerce Websites or Online Marketplaces
Of course, we can’t talk about multichannel retailing without mentioning ecommerce websites and online marketplaces. These platforms have become the preferred shopping destination for most people since they offer a wide variety of products and brands all in one place. Amazon, eBay, and Shopify are just some of the most popular examples which you’re pretty much familiar with as well.
Physical Retail Stores
Brick-and-mortar stores are still a viable option for businesses, especially if you’re catering to a local market. And now that the world is slowly going back to normal after the pandemic, more and more people are starting to frequent physical stores once again. Thus, many businesses are resuming their physical store operations or are looking to start one.
Direct Sales or Field Sales
Direct selling or field selling is when businesses sell their products or services directly to consumers, usually outside of a physical store. This could be in the form of door-to-door sales, pop-up stores, or even through company-sponsored events.
Product Search Engines
Consumers want to be sure they’re getting the best bang for their buck, so it’s not surprising that they turn to product search engines to do their research and make comparisons before making a purchase. Product search engines and price-comparison sites like PriceGrabber , Google Shopping, and NexTag are among the popular ones used by millions of online shoppers worldwide.
How Can You Use It to Boost Your Sales?
Now, how exactly can using multiple channels help increase your sales? Is it really worth the time, effort, and resources?
To answer that, let’s take a look at these seven ways multichannel retailing can benefit your business:
Reach More Customers
Your ads and engaging campaigns are close to being worthless if your potential customers can’t find you when they go online to look for what they need. This is where having a strong presence across multiple channels comes in handy.
By being present on different platforms, you’re essentially increasing your chances of reaching more people who are interested in what you have to offer. After all, not everyone hangs out on the same social media site or frequents the same online marketplace.
Create a Seamless Shopping Experience
Consumers have certain preferences when it comes to how they want to shop. And by offering multiple shopping channels, you’re giving them the freedom to choose how they want to do business with you. They’re also more likely to appreciate the convenience and seamlessness of being able to purchase from you through a channel they’re comfortable with.
For instance, some people might prefer to do their research on a product search engine before finally making a purchase on your ecommerce site or through your social media page. This is why it’s important that you’re present on as many channels as possible so you can cater to the needs of all your potential customers.
Generate More Leads
The more channels you’re present on, the more opportunities you have to generate leads. And the more leads you have, the higher your chances of making a sale.
This is because each channel gives you a chance to interact with your potential customers and get them interested in what you have to offer. Whether it’s through your customer support team engaging with them on social media or your sales team following up with them after they’ve visited your brick-and-mortar store, each interaction is an opportunity to turn a potential customer into a paying one.
Collect Better Data
When you’re already making sales across multiple channels, it becomes easier for you to collect data that can help you further improve your marketing and sales strategies.
For example, if you notice that most of your online sales are coming from your ecommerce site, you might want to focus your efforts on driving more traffic to your website. On the other hand, if you notice that most of your in-store sales are coming from walk-ins, you might want to focus on enhancing your store’s visibility.
Better data means better insights, which in turn leads to more effective marketing and selling strategies.
Provide More Convenient Payment Options
According to Checkout.com, 56% of consumers who are unable to make payments through the method they prefer are likely to not complete their purchase and never go back to the site.
With multichannel retailing, you can offer more payment options to your customers and make it easier for them to do business with you. For instance, if you have an ecommerce site, you can offer multiple payment options like credit card, debit card, and PayPal. You can also offer cash on delivery or in-store pickup for your brick-and-mortar customers.
By offering more payment options, you make it more convenient for your customers to pay you, which leads to more potential sales for your business.
Offer More Shipping and Delivery Options
Just like with payment options, customers also prefer to have more shipping and delivery options, especially when they’re shopping online. With various sales channels that cater to different customer needs, you can offer more shipping and delivery options that are convenient for your customers.
For example, if your current online physical store only offers in-store pickup, you can add shipping to your list of delivery options on your website. You can also offer express shipping through third party marketplaces for customers who need their items delivered as soon as possible.
Some Tips for Getting Started
Ready to take your business up a notch with multichannel retailing? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Evaluate Your Current Sales Channels
Of course, before you can start expanding your sales channels, you need to first evaluate your current ones. Are they still effective? Are they reaching your target market? Are they generating enough sales?
Analyzing your current sales channels will give you a good idea of which ones you should keep and which ones you should get rid of. You don’t want to waste your time and resources on channels that aren’t giving you the results you want.
Understand Your Customers’ Preferences & Purchasing Patterns
One of the main goals of multichannel retailing is to provide a better customer experience. In order to do that, you need to understand your customers’ preferences and purchasing patterns.
Try to put yourself in their shoes and trace their buyer’s journey. What factors influence their purchase decisions? How do they like to be engaged? What channels do they prefer to use when shopping?
By understanding your customers’ preferences and purchasing patterns, you’ll be able to narrow down which channels will work best for your business and your customers.
Start Small and Test the Waters
You don’t have to go all-in with multichannel retailing right away. Start small and test the waters first. See how your customers react to your new sales channels and make adjustments as needed.
As your business grows, you can slowly add more channels to your repertoire. The important thing is to take things one step at a time and not bite off more than you can chew.
Think Long-Term When Investing in Technology
Alright, I know we just talked about starting small, but when it comes to technology, you need to think long-term. Technology is a crucial part of multichannel retailing, so you need to invest in the right tools and systems.
Don’t just go for the cheapest or the most popular option. Take your time to research and find technology that will be able to support your business as it grows. This includes things like POS (point-of-sale) systems, ecommerce platforms, CRM (customer relationship management) software, and more.
Test, Test, & Test Again
Once you’ve set up your new sales channels, it’s time to test, test, and test again. Try to find any areas of improvement and make the necessary changes.
The beauty of multichannel retailing is that it’s always evolving. Just like the customer preferences and trends, the landscape of multichannel retailing is constantly changing. And thus, you need to continuously test and optimize your channels to ensure that you’re giving your customers the best possible experience.
Ready to Level-Up Your Sales Strategy?
There you have it! With the right knowledge on your target market and a strategic execution, your business will surely reach new heights with multichannel retailing! Just remember to take things slow and steadily increase your sales channels as you go. You’ll surprise yourself with the results in no time!