In today’s retail environment, sellers have to assess their multichannel strategy. Cross-channel selling is a superb way to raise access and reach more buyers — but it has to be implemented properly. A successful multichannel performance is the key to unlocking sustainable growth for retailers now — and it starts with some guiding principles.
1. Consistency is king
Retail Systems Research’s data proves that consistency is the most valued trait among retailers that market across multiple channels. Clients relate to a brand, no matter the channel where they find it. Whether they’re shopping at your retail store, through a mobile app, web shop, kiosk, etc., it’s crucial that their experiences fit their expectations to your organization. Buyers assume that they’ll have the ability to access the exact products at the exact prices at all your outlets. They anticipate that any service person that they connect with can edit their purchase, and that the item will be available through any station when they’re ready to buy. If these conditions aren’t fulfilled, it hurts your brand image and might cost you sales.
2. Knowledge is power
Regardless of how the customer interacts with you, make sure that every sales channel and customer service point has access to client information, such as contact information and complete purchase history. Understanding your customers’ preferences personalizes the interaction, makes them feel important, enables faster service and enriches the whole buying experience.
3. Saying yes builds loyalty
Nobody likes to be told”no,” especially when they have decided they will spend money on a buy. Expect what a customer may request and be prepared, in advance, to say,”yes” to their orders. At a minimum, these questions should be answered in the affirmative.
- Do you know the status of my order? Yes!
- Is that merchandise available? Yes!
- Can you send this to my property? Yes!
- Can I pick up that in the shop? Yes!
- I purchased this online: can I return it in the store? Yes!
- Do you understand what I purchased last time? Yes!
Establishing service and consistency is a fundamental part of retail business. Transforming purchasing experiences requires access to information. It has to be collected, shared and stored in a manner that the proper people in your staff have access to it at the ideal time. These capabilities aren’t out of reach for any vendor now. Software such as nChannel’s multichannel management platform provide a framework that centralizes order and customer information across various sales channels and orchestrates lots of the main sales processes required to meet customer requirements.
As an illustration of the ability of a well-executed multichannel strategy, Denver- based Trouts Fly Fishing is a specialty store with an expanding online presence. The website started eight years ago as a content-based and how-to hub for fly fishing fans, but the group quickly realized that people from throughout the nation wanted the ability to buy items and gear straight from the website.
So as to streamline efforts and ensure a cohesive experience across their brick and mortar and online stores, they began working with nChannel in late 2013. Their greatest challenge, and opportunity, was to make sure their in-store products were available on the internet and vice versa.
The merchant now thrives on quick service, instant product availability, same-day delivery, and high-speed information. They handle 5,000 products with over 10,000 SKUs via its in-store product, a Magento-based web site, and Amazon and eBay portals.
Trouts sends complex product areas, inventory levels, transaction data, customer records and financial documents coursing through its multi-vendor network and energetically pushes marketing with its newsletter, gift cards and an Anglers Rewards Program.
In the years prior to their procedure was perfected, waters were not as smooth. Trouts Fly Fishing eCommerce Manager Kevin Cooke notes,”we were constantly coping with out-of-sync stock on the site, so customer experience was spotty. We couldn’t answer or needed to go research ordinary customer questions which deserved fast answers. ‘When are you going to get it? What is a good substitute? When did you send? When does this get here?’ We were too frequently quick-stepping reactive customer relationships, not creating them.” Since implementing this system, Trouts earnings has been increasingly steadily with a 20 to 50 percent annual bump. Cooke adds,”If you do not automate all of your online sales purposes, the additional detail will eat you alive. Plan it out. I learned’Consistently automate so that you have the time to innovate!’ Be sure that you have scalable systems from an enthusiastic and innovative business.”
Nevertheless, do your homework prior to deploying any multichannel applications — here are a few key feature to look for to Ensure You’ve found the right one:
- A online portal to See consolidated sales data from multiple sales channels so each employee can support customers and respond to inquiries quickly and accurately
- Thing management to push consistent item information (product attributes, pricing, etc.) to every station; this also enables central management for promotions and pricing across multiple channels
- Inventory synchronization to ensure that all stations have accurate and current inventory counts
- Inventory management to Allow purchases from 1 station and gratification through another (i.e. in-store pickups)
- Seller integration to enhance stock visibility and enable drop shipments to clients
- Order management to quickly route and split orders to meet them quickly (and cost-effectively) as possible
To compete effectively today, retailers need to deliver a better purchasing experience across all channels, to ensure customers can easily find you, store when it is convenient…and finally, be enticed to return
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