Multi-channel retailing is the antithesis of putting all your eggs in one basket. To succeed in today’s lightning-fast pace of e-commerce, diversifying sales channels is a solid strategy businesses should consider.
Multi-channel retailing is, simply put, meeting your customers where they are and providing a variety of purchase pathways that work well for them. And it’s a strategy your brand cannot afford to ignore: The growth trajectory of multi-channel marketing is exponential, with projections of $6.96 billion this year to an expected $28.6 billion in 2030. Experts predict multi-channel will make up 46% of e-commerce sales this year.
When done well, a multi-channel retailing strategy can be a game changer for your business. Let’s explore what multi-channel retailing is (and what it isn’t), as well as five key drivers to success, like implementing automation tools for fulfillment and shipping for a seamless experience.
What Exactly Is Multi-Channel Retailing? And How Is It Different From Omnichannel?
Multi-channel retailing is the practice of selling products through multiple sales channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores, websites, and mobile applications. The rise of multi-channel retailing has significantly changed the way businesses operate and sell products. The benefits of multi-channel retailing are clear: increased sales revenue, improved customer satisfaction, and greater brand recognition.
While sometimes used interchangeably, there are differences between multi-channel and omnichannel retailing. Multi-channel retailing uses multiple avenues to sell your product. That can mean DTC (that stands for direct to consumer) via your company website, through social media channels like Facebook or Instagram, direct email, or other methods. Messaging is consistent across platforms and allows customers to decide from which channel they prefer to buy products.
On the other hand, omnichannel retailing focuses on the user experience and ensuring a customer gets a similarly strong experience no matter how they connect with your. Omnichannel aims to create a streamlined experience no matter where customers engage. For example, customers might visit your website to research your products but aren’t ready to purchase. The next time they log onto Google, an ad for your company appears in the sidebar. Later, the customer scrolls through Instagram and sees a Reel about someone using your product.
Why consider multi-channel retailing for your business? The answer is simple. Customers buy more from companies that use multi-channel selling. The numbers are hard to ignore, with revenue increases of 38%, 120%, and 190%, respectively, from each new channel.
However, it’s most important to have a strategy because, to use the adage, “hope is not a strategy.” So let’s delve into those success factors.
Four Factors of Success for Multi-Channel Retailing
Today’s shoppers expect to get exactly what they want — at the moment they want it, and in the way they want to buy it.
A customer-centric approach is essential to success in multi-channel retailing. This means that the customer is at the center of everything a business does, and every decision is made with the customer in mind. In order to achieve this, businesses need to invest in customer research and feedback to understand their needs, preferences, and behaviors. This information can then be used to create a seamless and personalized shopping experience across all sales channels.
Understand your buyers’ wants and needs so you can hone your brand messaging and the channels you use to sell to those customers. If your typical customer is a 40-year-old soccer mom versus a 16-year-old gamer, the channels you use and the brand voice you deliver will vastly differ. Knowing where your customers are is critical to smart logistics.
Integration and Consistency
Integration and consistency are critical to the success of multi-channel retailing. All sales channels need to be integrated to ensure a seamless and consistent customer experience. This means that inventory, pricing, promotions, and customer data should be consistent across all channels. The goal is to make it easy for customers to interact with the business through any channel and have the same experience every time.
Technology and Infrastructure
Technology and infrastructure play a crucial role in multi-channel retailing. Businesses need to have the right technology and infrastructure in place to support their sales channels. This includes e-commerce platforms, inventory management systems, order fulfillment processes, and logistics systems. Businesses need to invest in technology and infrastructure that is flexible and scalable, as their needs will change as they grow and expand into new channels.
Data and Insights
Data analytics and insights are critical to success in multi-channel retailing. Businesses need to collect and analyze data from all sales channels to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. This information can then be used to make informed decisions about inventory management, pricing, promotions, and marketing strategies. Businesses that are able to effectively use data analytics and insights to drive decision-making are more likely to be successful in multi-channel retailing.
Explore analytics for each channel you market. See what works and what doesn’t. You might decide one channel isn’t working and try another. As technology evolves, you may even find new channels. The key is to let the data guide your decisions.
The Right Tools To Improve Customer Experiences
It’s hard to get new customers. If they have a bad experience like a lost delivery, you might lose them for life. That’s why it’s vital to implement processes that provide a seamless customer experience.
Outsourcing your multi-channel order fulfillment and inventory management can ease in-house burdens and give you peace of mind. However, it’s important to have a reliable partner!
Smart Warehousing offers national warehousing, one-to-two-day shipping nationwide, and a real-time inventory and order management system. Smart Warehousing has become an industry leading warehousing, fulfillment, and logistical solutions company strategically headquartered in the center of the US in Kansas City. Get in touch today.