Top 4 Benefits of Multi-Channel Retailing
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Published by TOP4 Team
Creating a successful multi-channel experience may seem intimidating to many retailers who may be wondering if the effort is worth it. They may not have a choice, however.
According to the "Multi-channel Retailing: An Introduction" sponsored by merchandising company Frank Mayer and Associates, consumers are already expecting this kind of integration. They expect that if they order an item online, they can return it in the store, and it's up to retailers to make sure that expectation is met.
Yes, multi-channel retailing offers plenty of benefits that make will retailers’ investment in the strategy worthwhile.
For a retailer to adopt any strategy, the primary driver is, of course, increasing profit, most frequently by increasing sales. By offering a variety of engagement points for the customer to make a purchase, multi-channel retailing increases the convenience and ease of sales, thus boosting profit.
Improved customer perception
According to digital commerce agency KSC Kreate, channels are disintegrating for customers. People are watching television and using their tablet at the same time and they expect the same kind of integration with their shopping experience. Brands that don't provide that kind of experience will likely lose customers, especially as the digital generation is gaining even more buying power.
Stores who do create a seamless experience that integrates all different forms of technology, however, can gain significant customer loyalty. They’re perceived as forward-thinking and responsive to customer's needs — qualities that will keep customers coming back.
Better data collection
Knowing the customer is a key tenant for successful retailing and through multi-channel engagement points, you have more opportunities to gather information about customers. There are two data collection benefits offered by multi-channel retailing: the possibility of gathering more information and the information being used more effectively.
According to loyalty program provider Sweet Tooth, people are more comfortable entering information themselves rather than giving it to a salesperson. They’re far more likely to enter their email address into a kiosk than give it to a cashier. At the same time, by having that information available across a variety of channels, the retailer has more opportunities of capturing the information and more of it.
If you can track what and where a customer is purchasing, you can introduce a more targeted marketing. For example, you can email customers who tend to browse online and then purchase in-store an invitation to a private showing in your store and send them the list of products to be shown before the event, increasing the likelihood of purchase.
Multi-channel retailing offers benefits for more than shoppers. Workers can benefit, too, from the use of new technology, which arms them with more information and increases their efficiency.
For example, a tablet frees employees from the point-of-sale system, allowing them to carry the register with them. They can go directly to the aid of customers, helping them find out what’s in stock, what’s available at other stores and when new products might be launching. The tablet can also contain information about the loyalty program, so a frequent customer can be given VIP status. Then, when a purchase is ready to be made, the customer doesn’t have to stand in line but can simply continue talking to the salesperson and make the purchase via tablet.