Retailers can enjoy varied benefits by employing a multi-channel retailing approach to selling.
Multi-channel selling allows a merchant to reach out to a wider base of prospective customers by selling through multiple channels such as offline, bricks-and-mortar shops and pop-up shops at events, exhibitions etc, as well as online channels, like ecommerce websites and marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy.
By giving customers convenience and a choice of where to buy, it can be a powerful way to give product visibility a much-needed boost, which helps to keep a steady stream of new customers coming in and increase revenue.
Also the different sales channels can offer different opportunities for upselling; from an impulse purchase to an everyday essential at a physical till point in your shop, to displaying personalised recommendations in your ecommerce website based on items that other customers bought with a similar purchase.
Learning how to overcome the following challenges is central to ensuring that your retail business enjoys those benefits.
The nature of selling multi-channel means that you need to keep many sets of inventory. And with many retailers still using manual stock control or spreadsheets, managing stock across multiple channels can be time consuming.
This provides a challenge: not only your time but also keeping your inventory stable and accurate across the board and meeting all the relevant orders in both your in-store and online channels, without inadvertently giving special preference to one channel over another.
Therefore having a central inventory system that synchronises your products, sales and order management is, not only necessary to overcome these issues, but also vital to multi-channel selling success.
A central database will allow you to accurately track stock across all channels and provide additional information such as low stock, stock replenish, what’s selling well, when, where, and through which sales channel, allowing you to not only manage your inventory but also better forecast product demand and customer purchases.
But, with multi-channel selling, you’re selling your products in multiple places and adding the products to each sales channel can take time. Adding each product, to each sales channel and keeping the associated product details accurate across each channel becomes incrementally more challenging.
If you only have one channel to sell through, you only need concern yourself with the associated data in that one place. But with multi-channel selling, keeping the product data accurate becomes more challenging and different channels may well require you to format that data in different ways.
The best way to deal with this is to use a multi-channel system that has a central database to add, store and manage all your products, images and information, so that you only add your products once.
By managing your products in one place, not only vastly decreases your setup time, but also makes it quick and easy to manage those products and sales channels going forwards.
As you add more products and sell through each channel you will only need to review and maybe tailor your messaging depending on the sales channel used, rather than having to populate and write everything from scratch, which will save you important hours.
It is also worth noting that you may wish to be picky about which products you present where. For example you may wish to include your entire product range in-store and on your website, but pick different products for Amazon. Only selecting certain products to certain sales channels that will be advantageous and also where your customers will be.
Research has found that consumers will often carry out research via the online shop first, before going in-store to make their purchase, meaning it's more important than ever to have a seamless approach for your customers to buy, and in turn you will reap the benefit.
With the relationship between in-store shopping and online shopping being more interconnected, you need to ensure each channel works together seamlessly, to help build your brand and customer loyalty and also to make it easy for you to manage.
Centralising your back-end operations, whilst supporting your front-end customer will save you time by streamlining your processes.
All your customers, sales, promotions, stock, sales channels and more can be synchronised seamlessly, in a central database meaning no duplication of work for you, keeping everything in sync in real-time, and providing you with knowledgeable information about your retail business so that you can spend your important time driving your business forwards.
The simple act of going where your customers are and ensuring that any new sales channel is explicitly helpful and in line with your sales strategy, will keep your in-store and online retail business moving in the right direction as it expands.
The more channels, the more potential concerns you need to master, but as long as you ready yourself for these issues, you will undoubtedly find that multi-channel selling is a powerful ally as you seek to expand your reach and accelerate your growth.
If you would like help choosing a multi-channel retail system to assist you on your retail journey then ShopTill-e could be the answer.
It‘s been created with retailers in mind and to specifically help them save time, streamline processes and reduce costs.
With its centralised inventory management and product catalogue, you can choose where you want to sell. It’s fully featured with everything as standard, no costly add-ons, allowing you to manage everything from one central place, whilst keeping you in complete control.
Combined inventory management system, epos system and ecommerce platform so you can sell multi-channel successfully .
Have a look at the cost effective plans and pricing or try free for 14 days or book a demo to explore the benefits of this great retail platform for your business.
We are experts in retail and ecommerce and are a friendly team who will always take the time to help, as we want to do all we can to support you to make a success of your retail business.
We have a UK office, with a UK telephone number and provide UK support. If you have any questions or need help in your retail journey such as setting up your ShopTill-e store, taking payments, multi-channel selling, uploading products, adding an image, reporting, shipping, hardware choices and more - that's no problem - just call us, email us or use the live chat on our website.
"Earlier this year I made the decision to transfer my online store over to ShopTill-e and I am so pleased that I did. Not only is it super easy to add all your products to the online store and navigate your way around, the Epos system is brilliant too. The biggest draw though is the support you receive, they really are brilliant and on hand for any technical issue big or small. I cannot recommend them enough."