Allowing you to combine all of your sales channels, multi-channel retailing will help you maximise your sales opportunities and make it easier for your customers to purchase from you. Whether it’s through the use of a mobile app, your online store or your physical retail store, making use of technology in your business will maximise your income whilst providing your customers with choice and convenience.
By linking different mediums, you are making customers aware of the options available using multi-channel software solutions. For example, you could combine your in-store experience with that of your online information. On a typical day, a sales assistant will lose count of the amount of times they are asked for help by customers. By supplying each of your sales assistants with a tablet computer you could make their job quicker and easier, and enable them to provide customers with more accurate and detailed information.
Using the tablet, they would be able to quickly check whether an item is in stock or check availability in another store, find out more detailed product information, find relevant accessories or place an order on the customers’ behalf.
Being able to offer such a service to a customer demonstrates that you have a concern for the customers’ needs, which will not only leave the customer satisfied but will also ensure repeat business.
Multi-channel retail involves a variety of avenues being offered to the customer in order for them to purchase an item. Offering them choice ensures that they will find a convenient method, leading to a growth in sales.
If a customer wants to purchase a handbag but does not want to visit a store, they have the option of ordering the bag from the website and having it delivered to their home. Alternatively, they could see the handbag in the store but decide that they want to purchase it in a different colour. Through the use of an in-store kiosk, the customer would be able to order the handbag there and then, and have it delivered to their home address.
Utilising further technology, the use of QR codes would enable you to direct your customers to thousands of products without having to carry them in-store. By displaying a simple QR code on your in-store POS, you will be able direct your customers to your website where they will find be able to find thousands of other related products, compatible products and accessories.
Furthermore through the use of QR codes, you can also encourage your customers to share your products via social media in order to get the opinion of their friends – doing this will be in effect free advertising for your brand. Even if the person who shared it doesn’t purchase the product, someone who views it may.
Enhancing customer experience
By using different forms of technology, you are creating several engagement points, which offers more opportunities to gather information about customers. You can then track items that are being purchased, providing you with the opportunity to target your marketing to individual customers. For example, you will be able to track an item that a customer purchases on a regular basis. You can then make use of this information and send an email to the customer with a special offer on that item. The customer will then use the website to check the availability of the item in their local store. They can then visit the store and purchase the item, or place an order online. This demonstrates the different channels multi-channel brings to the customer shopping experience.
More retailers are also implementing the live chat option on websites to ensure that there is always someone to aid customers with their queries. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also guarantees that customers complete their sales.
An option that is now being offered by many retailers is ‘Click and Collect’ which allows customers to place an order online and collect it from their local store, combining both the online and in-store experience. This also makes it more convenient for the customer because they do not have to pay the delivery charges. Customers expect a fast service and the ‘Click and Collect’ option adheres to that. Delivery to a home address takes a few days and customers often want their items immediately. This is why customers are happier to pay a bit more for convenience and a rapid delivery.
Other options that are now being offered are things like next day delivery and same day delivery. Everything is being tailored to ensure that the customer receives a quick and efficient service to ensure repeat business.
If you are a retailer with a website and a physical store, by viewing these channels as independent means you are potentially losing out on sales. Sales assistants should combine online services with the experience that customers have in-store in order to maximise satisfaction, and at the same time the customer should be able to order online and collect in-store.
This article was written by Dean Ronnie, a writer with vast experience of online retail and the use of technology within business. Dean recommends the multi-channel retail solutions of Prima Solutions.