Evolution of multi-channel selling
Earlier the need for convenience was to allow shopping online. Now, with the advancement of technology increased their demands, and today, customers prefer retailers who allows a multi-channel shopping experience.
Many sellers are already gaining a competitive advantage in this year 2015, however, for those who have not yet adopted, I’m sure are experiencing a trouble in retaining customers.
According to Statista, the worldwide smart-phone users is estimated to reach 2.08 billion. And, the rise of technology enforced retailers to stay up with the latest ones that allow access of their products and services in the way customers are comfortable with.
Modern customers, especially the younger generation can now access any content and information they need from their own convenience using their smart phones. This means a lot to retailers.
Convenience is the King!
Gone are the days when smartphones only allowed customers to make purchases, compare prices, access content and reviews. Today, retailers are getting innovative with their services by that offer value to modern customers. This includes both online and offline experience, utilizing all major touch-points available considering social media and mobile too.
Facts and figures about Multi-channel selling
A Study by Accenture and hybris software, an Sap company, commissioned by Forrester Consulting was conducted to identify the challenges faced by middle and large market multi-channel retailer when deploying an omni-channel experience. Forrester found that that only 6% of retailers reported no significant barriers to becoming an integrated Omni-channel company.
The research involved 256 US and European retail and manufacturing decision-makers who participate in digital commerce initiatives and 1,503 multi-channel shoppers.
Let’s take a look at the findings:
1- 71% expect to view in-store inventory online.
2- 50% expect to buy online and pick up in-store.
3- Although half of all consumers that visit a physical store expect the sales associate to be able look up product information for them, only 39% of retailers today have enabled this capability.
4- 73% of consumers stated that they are likely or very likely to visit a local store if the retailer provides in-store product availability information online, compared with 36% of customers who would visit a store if no inventory information was available online
Store pickup options
5- 47% of consumers cited that they use store pickup options to avoid online shipping costs.
6- 25% use store pickup so they can collect their orders on the day they purchase them (thus avoiding the wait for shipping)
7- 10% simply find it more convenient to pick up from a store than have items shipped to their home.
Impact of innovative multi-channel selling
8- 93% of retailers cited that enabling ship-from-store had resulted in a positive or significantly positive uplift in online revenue.
9- 77% of retailers cited that enabling ship-from-store had reduced or significantly reduced their fulfillment costs
10- 88% of retailers cited that enabling ship-from-store had improved or significantly improved their customer satisfaction metrics.
Multi-channel selling- Buzzword for retailers 2015.....
Multi-channel selling not only has become a need for retailers, but, it allows them to stay competitive. Simply allowing customers an ability to place orders via multiple channels is no longer the win, the above statistics shows the need of modern customer’s shopping experience.
Selling direct to customers using combination of multiple channels, is important. However, a multi-channel selling is not limited to brick-and-mortar store, online shops, and marketplaces. The more innovative you are with your multi-channel selling strategy, the better chance of winning the following-
For instance, a customers shopping on the high street pull out his phone to check for better deals on Amazon, eBay, etc. The customer may use all the above channels, but, being present on them, will reduce chances of them actually looking up for competitors.
Having a single source for interacting and allowing customers to make purchases, even a single mistake can hamper the bottom line of the business. On the flip side, adopting an alternate stream of running your business and offering services will help you in your hard times.
There are many products that customers still prefer to be felt and touched before buying. However, for products that does not have physical handling, will be preferred to be shopped online. Offering a multiple shopping as per your products will help you increase sales orders.
Multi-channel will continue to grow
As per an article on Essential Retail- according to IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, multi-channel retailers are pulling ahead in the digital race as June online sales growth was up by 21% year-on-year for bricks and clicks players, compared to a 13% rise in sales for online-only retailers.
Tips to supercharge your multi-channel selling strategy
1- Use data
Foremost thing, you need to analyze and understand modern customer’s demand and their shopping behavior. Such data will make it easy to think other ways to offer a unique and demanding shopping experience.
2- Have a centralized system
Many retailers are trying to be present across multiple sources using technology, but, managing them individually gives them a nightmare. A single system to consolidate all your selling sources will make it easy to track performance and make the most out of their multi-channel selling strategy.