The retail scene is changing, and as consumer behaviours continue to evolve, new opportunities are being created for retailers the world over. So what's the latest trend for online traders? One word; OMNI-CHANNEL.
What is Omni-channel Retail? How can you incorporate it into your digital strategy? In this post, we'll give you the 101 on omni-channel and explain what all the fuss is about.
Let's start with the basics; Multi-channel.
What is Multi-channel and Omni-channel Retail?
In short, multi-channel retailing is where a business sells goods or services in more than one 'space'. This can be in both physical and digital environments.
Most outlets that have a retail store, often have an online shop. They may even have a mobile app, or sell through eBay, Amazon, or Facebook. This is multichannel retailing.
For example; a retailer sells goods from their brick and mortar store. At the same time, they also sell through their online store and an online marketplace like eBay. This is multi-channel retailing.
Omni-channel involves connecting the systems that manage each part of the business to provide an integrated experience to both customers and business owners. For example, a retailer sells goods in their brick-and-mortar store, their online shop and eBay. To do this they need to have 5 things:
- a point of sale system for taking payments in-store;
- an online shop;
- an ebay account;
- an online system to manage their inventory; and
- a crm to capture customer data from all sales platforms and handle marketing/campaigns
Although able to sell to more people, there is also a lot more administration time that goes into running a multi-channel business. Orders are everywhere and easily missed, products need to be entered in individually and often contain inaccurate details, prices and stock levels.
To solve this issue the Retailer can integrate the above platforms so that information is only ever entered once, and automatically flows between programs. This is omni-channel retail.
In summary, Multi-Channel retailing is a great way to sell more products and market goods to a broader range of customers. Omni-channel is the 'level up', where all these programs are connected using the internet. Information is then able to be shared between the programs in real-time, and the customer is about to interact with all these platforms seamlessly. In simple terms, the 'channels' talk to each other.
Benefits of Multi-channel
- Shop is always 'Open'
- Sell to larger market
- Capitalise on social media and social shares
- Flexible and scalable retail environment
Benefits of Omni-channel
- All product data, including stock levels are in the 1 place - no more overselling items!
- All orders come to the same spot. Rather than looking at 4 or more systems to see orders they can all be viewed from your eCommerce shop.
- Centralised customer data creating more opportunities for marketing and increased sales
- Save time entering or updating data in multiple systems
- Customers receive a seamless buying experience which leads to more sales conversions
Is it hard to get connected?
Difficult? No. Time consuming (and sometimes confusing)? Yes.
It may take a little more time and effort in the beginning (and possibly additional monthly expenses depending on the integrations), but it will save you a lot of time in the long run when it comes to updating products, stock levels, and managing orders.
If you're wondering how to sell products online, through eBay and Amazon or on places like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest then you're in the right place. The best way to start is by creating an online store, and then slowly start connecting that store with other channels like Facebook, Instagram or a Marketplace (eBay/Amazon).
A word of caution when setting up your store; choose your eCommerce platform wisely as it will form your online foundation and work as the 'engine room' for your business. Some sites aren't clear what connections are available and if there are any fee involved. Make sure it has all the features you need, and won't cost you the moon to run.
Need more help?
Plastyk Studios specialises in connecting systems to keep our clients' businesses running smoothly. If you would like more information on how to get your business connected, let's chat.