In a competitive environment, a multichannel strategy is vital to retail success. Multichannel selling opens up a variety of avenues to reach new customers and can increase sales, revenues, customer loyalty, and retention; improving a retailer’s competitive advantage.
Respondents to a survey conducted by SAP(1) reported that a multichannel strategy increased sales in 74% of cases, improved customer loyalty and acquisition efforts in 64%, and gave 62% of survey respondents a competitive advantage.
Not only does multichannel retailing increase customer acquisition by reaching a broader, more diverse audience, but multichannel shoppers are also more active, making more purchases and spending more per basket than single-channel shoppers.
A study of 46,000 shoppers conducted by the Harvard Business Review(2) found that multichannel shoppers spent more in-store and online than single-channel shoppers and that this number increased for every channel that the shopper engaged. And for every channel added, seller revenue increases. Adding a single digital marketplace(3) in addition to the owned website can increase seller revenue by 38%; and with another added site that number jumps by 120%.
To grow sales through multichannel retailing, a seller should:
Create a customer journey profile
Customer journeys are complicated and grow in complexity as more channels are added. Consider where customers research products and where they shop, and which stage of the funnel they are in when they are active on different marketplaces. Make sure that content is targeted to be relevant to customers at each step, to meet the customer’s needs at that time.
Check out the competition
By analyzing competing retailers, a seller can gain valuable insight into their own multichannel sales strategy. Perhaps a competitor is selling on a niche website that you haven’t considered, offering a new opportunity to reach a wider audience; or maybe their content drives shoppers to positive reviews at the right stage of the customer journey. This analysis provides a framework for comparison to your strategy, creating a flow of new ideas for multichannel retailing.
When you know your audience, and understand their journey, you can formulate and prioritize different aspects of the strategy. And by addressing the most important tasks first, valuable time and resources will be used to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
Ensuring that customers have a satisfactory experience on the mobile versions of each channel is an increasingly important part of multichannel retailing. A study by Shopify(4) found that in the face of increasing phone use overall, the fastest-growing segment was shopping, which increased by 54% in 2017. Testing the mobile shopping experience for multichannel customers is vital to maintaining a successful multichannel retailing strategy.
Integrate inventory and operations
One of the most challenging aspects of multichannel retailing is managing operations and inventory across multiple channels. Manually updating product descriptions and inventory is a time-consuming and error-prone process, and out-of-sync information is a significant issue in maintaining customer satisfaction.
Finding a solution that automates multichannel retailing efforts allows a company to sell on multiple marketplaces just as easily as one. A central dashboard that automatically updates inventory to all channels not only saves time and effort, it reduces the cost of each sale, prevents overselling of products, and maximizes customer satisfaction, providing a retailer with a competitive advantage over other sellers.
ChannelGrabber is the leading omnichannel retailing solution, allowing sellers to optimize product listings across multiple digital marketplaces, with one-click listing and automated inventory updates providing accurate information to sellers and shoppers.