If you’re a small business owner and you are only utilizing one sales channel, whether it be a retail shop, online store or via online marketplaces, you might be missing out if you want to grow your business as efficiently as possible. If you only have one route to market then you are putting all your eggs in one basket and are at the mercy of consumer behavior. Here are five reasons why you should stop and think about multichannel retail:
5 Benefits of Adopting a Multichannel Retail Model for Small Businesses
Up your exposure
Simply put, you gain access to many more potential customers when you adopt a multichannel model. The combination of the online browsers, high street footfall and online marketplace shoppers, really adds up and gives you access to a much larger target market. Exposure to more people means that you have a higher chance of being seen by someone who is interested in what you are selling and therefore likely to make more sales.
2. Be where your customers are
If customers are using a particular sales channel and you’re not present on it, they’re not going to change to another just because it is more convenient for you. They’ll just move on to one of your competitors who are conveniently there for them. Loyalty to a brand goes out the window if you are unable to be in front of customers when and where they want you to be.
Customers might often touch on multiple different channels in different stages of the buying cycle. For instance, they might want to research a product online before they go and collect if from a ‘bricks and mortar’ store, or they may decide to go to an online marketplace to try and get it at a cheaper price. By catching them at the research phase, they may well opt to buy from you when they are on these other channels because they are already familiar with your brand.
3. Avoid being reliant on one source of revenue
Adopting the multichannel retail model lets you escape over-reliance on a single revenue stream. If there’s less footfall in the high street due to bad weather, that’s not a major issue as you can continue to trade online. If the latest Google algorithm changes make your web store plummet in search engine listings, you’ll be okay, your eBay sales are still rolling in. Have a diverse range of channels to market not only gives your customers more choice but helps you to cover your bases too.
4. Different horses for different courses
Depending on what people are buying they will have different requirements which will aid the decision process. For instance, buying clothes is usually something people want to be able to touch and try on so they are more likely to go to a ‘bricks and mortar’ store for this kind of shopping. Whereas buying electrical equipment can often be something that is easier to buy from the comfort of your own home. Marketplaces are often a place where people will go to find a bargain or particularly unusual items. Testing out which of your products sell best on which channel will help you maximize profits on your sales and to sell more of them too.
5. Quick start
Setting up an additional sales channel is pretty straightforward as you already have the experience and processes set up for your existing sales channel. Stock can be stored in the same place for all of them, and if you setting up a new webstore or starting to list things on online marketplaces, you shouldn’t need much more in terms of staff resources to be able to get these off the ground.
It is worth considering how you will manage any disparity between the channels; you need to make sure that they are working in sync. It is worth implementing a back-end system that integrates all the sales channels you are utilising. This way when you sell a product on one channel, your stock control will update accordingly and stop selling the same item again on another channel. Plus, you will no need to duplicate data entry when adding or updating products.
Multichannel retail is the way of the future, as a small business you are agile enough to be able to get on board with this upward curving trend quickly and easily. Many similar businesses are still stuck in the past so take this opportunity to get ahead of your competitors. If you don’t they will.
Brightpearl is multichannel retail software and an end-to-end business management solution which integrates POS, ecommerce web store and online marketplace listings with inventory, accounts, order management, CRM and more. It’s designed to save small businesses time, help them to sell more and to enjoy happier customers.