While there is a lot said about multichannel marketing, the point a good retailer needs to remember is that it doesn’t matter whether shoppers come to your online or brick-and-mortar store. It’s imperative you provide them with a seamless top-grade shopping experience in every case. This means you need to market your business through a variety of channels and develop a comprehensive retailing strategy. Before you do this though, you should learn about the challenges which you’ll face so you can integrate the most effective solutions into your strategy from the start.
1. Pricing expectations
“Seamless shopping experience” means you have to make sure your customers can buy anything at the same price from any platform you work with, be it your online store, Amazon, or your brick-and-mortar shop. However, you also need to be flexible with your pricing and be able to change it on a moment’s notice. This way, you’ll be able to manage your sales much more efficiently. For example, you can drop or increase the price for some special products when you are nearly out of stock.
Also, you need to monitor your sales information from every channel at all times so you can make these decisions and subsequent changes fast. Doing this “by hand” isn’t an option in the fast-paced world of today’s retail. Therefore, be sure to invest in Product Information Management software as well as solutions for dynamic in-store pricing, which are literally reshaping the retail industry today.
2. Mishaps with asset tracking
Multichannel retailing is complex and it is astounding how many smaller retailers still rely on spreadsheets for their asset and inventory tracking. Doing this when you deal with multiple channels of sales is extremely difficult and errors are guaranteed.
Every mistake is a loss of profit, and some of these might be so big that they’ll leave your business struggling. Therefore, it is essential you upgrade to asset tracking software over spreadsheets if you want to succeed as a multichannel retailer. This way, you’ll know exactly where all your assets are at any time. This will also reduce the risks of theft and employee fraud.
Such solutions allow you to run complete audits and to get reports within moments, so you will always be informed of precisely where your business is. This information can be used to analyze the asset’s lifecycle and improve your multichannel strategy in the future
3. Channel-specific marketing
Multi-platform marketing is challenging because, at least in the beginning, you likely won’t have a large marketing budget. This means that the budget you planned to spend on Google ad development or any other singular channel will have to be divided into smaller parts so you can develop advertisements for multiple additional channels. Marketing after all isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of science, especially today as each channel grows more sophisticated.
Unlike previous challenges, this one doesn’t have a simple solution. The best you can do is to use your limited resources in the most efficient manner. A good tactic would be to develop marketing materials based on funnel stages instead of channels. You will also need to ensure your customers are rerouted to the right channel when they move up to the next stage. For example, you can hit them with targeted Facebook ads after they visit your website for the first time.
As your revenue grows, which it should if your multichannel retailing strategy is efficient, you should maintain (or increase) the percentage of your budget allocated to marketing so that you can diversify – the higher your sales revenue, the higher your total marketing spend. The most efficient strategy is to build the fullest possible marketing presence on every channel. However, as the quality of your content matters most – you shouldn’t try to rush it until you can afford to develop professional channel-specific materials. And remember that your branding must be consistent regardless of the platform.
One of the greatest challenges of multichannel retailing is that it makes it difficult to gather data vital to your success. To make the most out of this retailing strategy you need to have accurate real-time data on how well each channel performs. This is necessary so you can understand where you can and should improve, and how to do it.
Using specialized software, it should be rather easy to collect data about which channels sales come through. But it will be much harder with marketing. And you need that multichannel marketing analytics data because a retail business cannot succeed today without efficient marketing.
To do something about this, you will need to start by arming yourself with the full power of Google Analytics Tools. They aren’t perfect but they can provide you with the Assisted Conversions Report. It will provide you with reasonably accurate data on your conversions and which channels helped them to happen.
Also, don’t ignore the power of customer surveys. You should occasionally ask your customers directly where they’ve encountered your brand’s name and which marketing channel works best for each of them.
Multichannel retailing is the most effective model available at the moment, but it’s a rather complex model that requires a lot of work. To achieve its full potential, you should make it as centralized as possible. Use solutions that will allow you to track the state of your business, inventory, and even marketing performance in real-time. It will be ideal if these tools can integrate to provide you with an easier way to track and manage your business, so that you, in turn, can provide your customers with a top-quality shopping experience through every channel you use.
About the writer: Kate Bregovic is a wife, mother, freelance writer and fitness enthusiast. She covers many topics – from business management trends to fitness regimes. When she’s not writing, she’s planning outdoor activities for her family, cooking or working out at the gym. Follow her on Facebook.
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