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A Business Survival Guide To Multi-Channel Retail

Sales Management

Business is a dog-eat-dog world. We’ve all seen Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice, with companies pitching ideas and doing their best to stay ahead of the game, increase sales and generate a healthy profit.  With the increasing use of multi-channel options, businesses and retailers are finding themselves in the unique position of being able to advertise their product through the widest possible media means and enhancing revenue streams.

Using a variety of multi-channel means (internet, email, mobile, apps) maximises your exposure to attract potential customers. Whether you’re a high street shop or a massive chain, you cannot underestimate its importance.

It’s a sad fact that we hear practically every day of how businesses are suffering due to the financial crisis or the economic downturn, but by using as many revenue streams as possible you’re at least limiting the risk of losing out and going the extra mile to try to beat the tough times and reduce the risk of unnecessarily jeopardising the business.

In a savvy global marketplace with an equally savvy consumer base, businesses big and small are embracing the enormous benefits of meeting the demands of their customers through the versatile and diverse means of multi-channel retail.

Provide Different Options For Different Needs

Different customers have different needs and there is a multi-channel option that fits each individual consumer like a glove. Some products – clothes, for example, which often need to be tried on before purchasing – require a physical approach. Other items – CDs, electronics – don’t, and can simply be selected, bought and delivered with a few clicks. The other advantage for the customer, of course, is that they can browse for the best deal and bargain hunt to their heart’s content, which is a further incentive for business to offer a competitive price for their products.

Make Your Website Exemplary

The internet is the most dominant media stream when it comes to procuring sale sand generating revenue, so if you have a website it’s essential it has  a good design, is simple to understand and easy to navigate. Don’t overcrowd the site with unnecessary images and code the pages so they upload quickly.  Be clear what you’re selling, have good quality images of the products, and make purchasing easy, secure payment methods and delivery/shipping costs.

Incorporate POS Systems

Incorporating epos systems (Point of Sale) and software to the tills allows staff to have quick access to information such as location, availability and price, which in turn keeps everyone in the loop and things ticking over smoothly and efficiently.  This, in turn, keeps staff feeling empowered and the customer happy.

Be Organised

Integrating all your sales channels with one inventory management system ensures that you’ll have real time information about all the products and will eliminate awkward situations such as selling the same product twice (leaving one customer disappointed). It will also allow you to compare products and analyse which are the big sellers and which generate most revenue.

Treat Your Customer Right

As in any business, customer is king, and by treating them properly will increase the chance of them coming back to buy more products. And don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth, which can often be better than recruiting an exorbitant-salaried advertising guru. Furthermore, you might want to entice them back with discounts and deals or send them emails with the latest offers.

Of course, the bottom line is to facilitate which method(s) work best for you and which multi-channel streams will make the most money for you, and only you – as retailer and professional in your own business – can do that.

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