It is the traditional retailer’s worst nightmare to see a customer peruse an item in their store and then flip out a smartphone to order it online. Online sales are multiplying day by day because they offer customers much more than a traditional outfit can. Studies have consistently shown the power of consolidating various channels into one outfit dramatically increases profitability. Of course, a certain amount of strategic wisdom and instinct is also required for this to happen. But more about that later. This article is about the advantages of multi-channel retail over those of single channel retail, and there are many. But first, let’s describe what we mean by multi-channel retail.
Multi-channel retail is the ability to sell your product over multiple physical and virtual venues at the same time. This is as opposed to having a lone physical store, or even selling exclusively out of any one virtual channel, be it any of the online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon, or your own website. So what difference does moving into the multi-channel area of operations make? Here are 7 good reasons why you should consider going multi-channel.
Why Should You Go for Multi-Channel Retail?
1. Because It Means Business Growth
This is a simple point to understand. Every business requires expansion to thrive, and here expansion is being provided for free. Having more storefronts on the internet means being able to provide for a wider customer base. Customers generally prefer online marketplaces based on trustworthiness, service and price. Since these markers are prone to fluctuation, it is always better to post your flag on multiple marketplaces. Since doing so in most marketplaces does not require you to shell out money, it is a great chance to take. At the same time, it has been seen that around 20% of buyers heavily research a product online and then prefer to buy it from a physical store. So it doesn’t hurt to have a physical store too!
2. Because It Drastically Increases Your Customer Base
This one is especially for exclusively physical store owners. Selling is all about converting the need for a product into its availability. If a certain amount of customers enter your shop per day, you can be sure that the amount of people browsing for similar products on the internet is manifold. Here is your key to tap that market. Your potential customer-base grows from your city (for your physical store) to the whole world, depending upon the online marketplaces that you would choose. It is a great asset to have.
3. Because It’s the Best Thing for a Niche Product
This one is for all the business owners who provide niche products and services. It might be nice to have a bohemian store in Goa where you display and sell your handiwork, but you are missing out on so much. There are specialized marketplaces like Etsy and ArtFire that provide a great doorway to sell niche products like handicrafts, antiques, artworks, etc. The real market is online.
4. Because There are No Storefront Costs
This is the reason why marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay survive – all the data is stored in bits and bytes. All one needs is a warehouse ready to ship products as they are ordered, and you are good to go. No storefront costs, no worrying about shelf life, no rent. One of the reasons why consolidating place in online stores is important is that you can streamline even the costs incurred during online sales. Since a single backend setup can work for multiple online stores, you do not need to put more capital for each channel.
5. Because You Can Integrate All Your Stores
When you have multiple channels, you can treat them as subsidiaries and involve customers by offering them incentives to buy from you. A physical coupon that can work online, an online offer that can be redeemed in your physical store, you can offer your customers more flexibility if you have more selling options. If it makes them happy, it will make your business a success.
6. Because You Get Sophisticated Sales Analysis
Multiple channels also provide you with a bunch of data from varied demographics, time zones and regions. Since all this happens online, it is very easy to store and analyse it for future reference. The data sensitivity of multiple online stores is way more as compared to a physical store or even a single online store. The individual sales data from each channel can be integrated, collated and analysed by a multi-channel inventory management system like Browntape, and the resulting conclusions can be heavily used in both short and long term strategy creation.
7. Because It’s Stupefyingly Easy
All you need is a multi-channel inventory management system. A system like Browntape integrates all your orders and inventory into one portal, which means that you do not need to micro-manage each of your multiple stores, but rather keep an eye on one single page. Since the logistical work for all the online channels can also be rolled up into one outfit, it essentially becomes a single store with multiple selling windows, albeit with an unprecedented reach.
For any queries about why you should go for multi-channel retail, and other stuff regarding online sales, do not hesitate to get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading multi-channel inventory management software providers, and we’re always happy to help!