Retailers must strive to reach as many potential customers as possible for their product or range of products. This is achieved by making their products available for sale through any and all sales channels preferred by their target customers. This is referred to as multi- or omni-channel retailing and typically involves selling products via physical retail stores, catalogues and mail / telephone order, online stores, websites and webstores and online marketplaces.
There is considerable evidence suggesting that physical store-based retail is declining.
A recent BBC report cited six reasons for this decline and the shift to online retain chief amongst these. Catalogue-based and traditional distance-selling approaches like mail order have been almost entirely replaced by online selling. The internet has, since the late 1990’s become the fastest growing and most popular way for a retailer to increase customer reach and is certainly the most cost effective way of doing so. Traditional high-street retailers have lost considerable market share to online sellers like Amazon and nimbler players who were quicker to adopt ecommerce strategies.
A 2017 report by Raymond James revealed that over 50% of consumers now start their product searches on Amazon making Amazon the default search engine for products – ahead of Google. eBay and Amazon compete fiercely for both new and used good retailer business and both offer the means for those retailers to maintain branded concession-style stores within their market places.
But in order to reach as many customers as possible a retailer must be accessible to them wherever they choose to shop and that inevitably means selling through their own webstore, eBay, Amazon and others – including smaller marketplaces like Etsy, Walmart, New Egg and more.
But since each sales channel functions differently and entirely separately, multi-channel online selling often leaves retailers feeling as though there are not managing one business but many. Webstores and marketplaces are nothing more or less than ecommerce web applications that require retailers to manage their product content, listings or adverts, stock, orders, billing, shipping and customer communications in silos. This in turn causes inefficiency, duplication of effort, wasted time, cost and errors that serve to undermine customer satisfaction.
In order to maximise reach online, a retailer must optimise product content for each sales channel to capitalise on the data structures, available descriptive fields and the means of representing their product pictorially and with video and ensure their products can be easily found and that customers are empowered to make a buying decision in their favour. The solution is to employ ChannelGrabber as it is aware of the optimal product content format for each channel.
Optimized content must then be served up correctly to each sales channel. This a huge challenge because each channel has its own product categories and sub categories and each of these have their own listing templates requiring different fields to be populated. Accompanying images and videos must be uploaded to each listing, shipping methods and pricing must be set and much more. The solution is to automate the listing process using software that is capable of pushing product content to each and every channel in precisely the format in which it is required each and every time.
An optimized listing will only be seen if your customer goes searching for it on the respective sales channel. But a retailer may wish to selectively “boost” their listings to draw more eyes to them. This can be achieved manually by using paid advertising on Google Shopping, Amazon and Priceshopper. Of course it would be far easier to boost your listings while you place them much as you would a social media post. The solution is provided by software which offers the retailer the facility to combine listing and advertising as part of the same workflow.
When a retailer makes their products available through more sales channels, they must face the dilemma of how best to manage their stock. Do they make all of their stock available everywhere at once risking oversells and the inevitable customer complaints arising from them or do they split their stock into virtual silos – one for each sales channel. If they do they have to be adept at predicting demand and sell-through or risk selling out on one channel and missing sales while sitting on stock elsewhere. It’s a tough call but maximizing customer reach has to necessitate the exposure of all of your stock and the solution is to automate stock control across all sales channels such that it depletes uniformly across each as sales are made.
Multi- or omni-channel retailing creates a number of unpleasant administrative overheads once the sale is made. Orders have to be managed on multiple software platforms, invoices have to be generated either on- or off-system or a combination of both the entered into accounting or ERP systems.
Then there is the shipping and customer communication again handled through on-system messaging, email or both. These are just some of the many side-effects of striving to reach as many customers as possible through multi- or omni-channel retailing and all necessitate the utilization of specialist retail business process automation software.
ChannelGrabber helps retailers to reach more customers by providing a single, fully-integrated system with one user interface, and one location from which you can manage every aspect of your online business.
ChannelGrabber is the most powerful multichannel retail software solution available. In addition to helping retailers reach more customers, ChannelGrabber uniquely helps them win and and retain more customers. You're just minutes away from reaping the benefits!