Multichannel sales is the process of constantly searching for new distribution channels and ways to contact customers, as well as optimising existing ones. A distribution channel can be not only a website, but also e-mail or SMS, newsletter, catalogue, an offer on an online auction service, a traditional store and a Facebook online store.
Multichannel sales lets you better understand customers' shopping habits and benefit more from the shopping potential of your existing customers. It allows you to provide customers with a product and, as a result, increase sales.
The goal of multichannel sales is to offer your customer the most convenient shopping channel. A customer must be able to choose multiple sales channels and easily switch between them.
Do you provide your customers with such a solution and do you make full use of multichannel sales potential? Make sure you are a step ahead of your competitors and read our 10 tips.
A customer must be able to find the products they need easily and quickly. For this purpose, you need to pay attention to organic search engine optimisation (SEO) and paid advertisements (SEM). Read more about SEO positioning.
Another place to provide customers with products are marketplaces, price comparison sites and company product catalogues. Using such a solution will help you to start selling safely and inexpensively. In addition, when selling on online auction services, e.g. eBay, you can quickly auction specific goods as well as check the demand for given products and price attractiveness.
Additional advantages of online auction services, price comparison sites and company product catalogues:
According to the latest "Trusted Reviews 2012" report conducted by Ceneo, a large number of other users' reviews is one of the most important factors (70% of respondents) when choosing an online store.
The effort spent on perfect customer service and a well-designed website is not enough if your customers do not write a positive review about what you have to offer. Please remember that customers want to do their shopping in safe places or, in other words, places that are recommended by other users.
In every business, you need to adjust your offer to your customers' needs and be present in the places where your customers expect you to be. The 21st century is the era of Facebook. You can use our special Facebook layout and create your own Facebook store.
Why should I sell on Facebook?
Read our guide for selling on Facebook.
A well-planned loyalty program can bond customers to your brand at a low cost. Apart from increasing the number of regular customers, loyalty programs can link online shopping with traditional sales.
For traditional loyalty programs, customers exchange earned points for awards. The whole process can take place via the Internet. Why not add additional elements?
If you also run traditional sales, you might introduce a loyalty program that will attract online customers to your traditional store. For example, if you sell clothes and accessories, shoes, household appliances, furniture, etc., you might announce sales for the most loyal customers.
Polish marketing guru Paweł Tkaczyk emphasizes that the advantage of loyalty programs is getting customers involved in a game with a store, i.e. so-called "gamification". It increases customers' involvement and creates a positive shopping experience.
Customers require personalised content that fits their specific needs. For this purpose, you can use triggered messages,, i.e. intelligent automatic e-mail messages based on specific actions or events.
Using triggered messages, you can send:
Send campaigns that consist of multiple messages, but address each message to a different group of recipients. This will make your content personalised based on the recipient type, and increase the effectiveness of delivery of messages that your customers are really interested in.
The uninitiated might perceivenewsletters as an outdated and dull marketing tool. Nothing could be further from the truth! Modern newsletters sent by e-mail are one of the most effective forms of communication. According to research conducted by the GetResponse experts, 71% of e-mail users state that they regularly read subscribed newsletters and almost 90% of newsletter recipients take part in promotions.
How to create an effective newsletter:
Provide an interesting title – the title is what's most important and it determines if a subscriber will read further. Example: you are a fruit and vegetables retailer and you want to sell apples. You could write: "Buy fresh and cheap apples". On the other hand, you could say: "No wonder Adam gave in" and activate a sequence of associations in your subscribers' minds. Most of them will read the newsletter content because they will get curious and want to know more.
Less means more – do not try to include everything you can. You need to only encourage the reader to browse for more.
Use simple language – do not include technical terms or long sentences. Not everyone is an expert in a given industry. Your goal is to engage potential customers, and not to bore or discourage them.
Mention benefits – if you describe a product or solution, you need to mention its features and the benefits resulting from them.
Use a recommendation system – let your subscriber receive a personalised set of recommended products.
Educate – newsletters are not only designed for selling. On the contrary, it is good practice to use newsletters as an educational guide. For example, if you own a company that sells construction tools, you can send a weekly newsletter with hints on how to paint walls, put up wallpaper, etc.
27% of Poles use smartphones, of whom 40% are Internet users. Therefore, you cannot ignore the mobile channel in multichannel sales.
A mobile store enables busy customers to do their shopping conveniently from any place and at any time – e.g., when stuck in a traffic jam, travelling by bus or lying on the beach.
A mobile website is more convenient than an app. Why?
Success does not take much effort: To start out with, you need to only have a mobile version of your website optimised to operate on smartphones and tablets.
Multichannel sales is useful for a customer not only when a store offers convenient shopping channels, but also when it comes to courier services and payment systems. For that reason, give your customers a choice and integrate your offer with several partners.
Integration with popular courier service companies brings additional advantages. For instance, integration with DHL provides Express and Economy services. This will help to adjust the service type to your customers' needs and requirements.
If you have a lot of foreign customers, you will need to integrate your offer with the PayPal payment system.
Paradoxically, the key role in multichannel sales is played by inventory management and information about product availability. You can imagine your customer's reaction if they find a product that they were looking for for a long time in what you have on offer, place an order, and finally find out that the item is not available in your store at the moment.
Here's what you should do to avoid such a situation:
Specify the sales channels that generate the most profits and determine the most common shopping behaviour.
If you gather this data using appropriate tools, you will be able to specify detailed marketing activities and promotions as well as select a proper target group.