What is Omnichannel Retail? Pitfalls, benefits and solutions
We'll explore omnichannel vs multichannel and how the right omnichannel software solution can help you manage stock, complex orders, sell across multiple channels and meet customer expectations.
As an industry, eCommerce has grown consistently year-on-year for two decades and the global pandemic has not only forced more retailers online, but has also meant that existing e-tailers have had to up their game in the face of stiff competition. While nobody can say what the future will bring, a recent study by Harvard Business Review showed that 73% of shoppers now buy both online and in-store so we can be sure that omnichannel sales will continue feature heavily in the retail landscape for a long time to come.
Evolving your Business
If you’re a traditional, bricks and mortar retailer, your first thought may be that all you need now is a website - and ten years ago you may have been right. However, as retail and eCommerce technology has advanced significantly in recent years, and with newly developed features and functionality perpetuated by covid-19, this is no longer the case. The modern, ambitious retailer requires so much more than just a website, they need an online store with sophisticated features and functionality – and that’s just for starters.Saledock design professional, customised eCommerce websites in-house so you can go live in just a matter of weeks!
If you have already taken the plunge into eCommerce, you may well be experiencing extensive growth in sales and reaping the rewards of online adoption. However, if you’re one of the many e-tailers who haven’t yet progressed from multichannel retail to omnichannel, you’re probably also experiencing the pitfalls of running a complex retail operation without a unified retail solution.Saledock provides a powerful back office to manage all products, process orders and gain valuable insights for your on and offline sales. Your entire business, in one place.
This article seeks to address both scenarios, and to define and outline the pain points of using outdated or inadequate systems. We also take a look at how to avoid or resolve these issues with a unified retail system and offer some key takeaways along the way, so you can work smarter, not harder.
Omnichannel vs Multichannel Retail
Firstly, let’s clear up any confusion about the difference between omnichannel and multichannel retail. Often mistakenly believed to be the same, multichannel retail is all about offering your products across a range of channels (think social media, online marketplaces, your eCommerce store etc.), while omnichannel takes a rather more in-depth and holistic account of the consumer’s experience across all platforms with a keen focus on data.
Pitfalls and Pain Points of Omnichannel Retail
Regardless of whether you are already dabbling in omnichannel retail or are about to take the plunge, we are going to address the pitfalls which can have the most devastating effect on your business, but which are also easily avoided with the right software solution:
- Meeting Customer Expectations
- Managing Stock
- Multiple Lines of Communication
- Complex Order Management
- Multiple Software and Systems
So, let's begin...
Meeting Customer Expectations
The pandemic has seen phenomenal growth in online shopping and while many will return to the bricks and mortar store when they feel it’s safe to do so, it’s believed that shopper behaviour has fundamentally changed, and with it their expectations for excellent service and a personalised experience.Saledock manages customer profiles so you can personalise your customers shopping experience and your marketing to them.
With this step change, only the retail businesses which actively seek to meet their customers’ ever changing expectations will be successful. So, whether this manifests as a new product line for your business, a flash sale to match your competitor’s new promotion, or adding a click and collect service, just imagine the work involved to make these changes across your platforms, marketplaces and your own website manually.
Agility is key and only truly achievable through the use of modern retail technology which can offer a cohesive customer experience across all channels, which is why it’s vital that your chosen retail solution enables you to turn on a sixpence.Saledock manages unlimited products from your centralised back office so you can manage prices and discounts across products, variants and stores with just a few clicks.
Manually managing your stock levels across multiple platforms and locations is a recipe for disaster. Firstly, how do you determine how many units to make available in each location? If you over-egg your stock you risk overselling and disappointing customers, but if you understate stock availability you risk missing out on vital revenue.
So, what’s the solution? Unified stock management is possible only through a software solution which maintains live stock levels across all platforms, including your physical store, so you never over or undersell. What’s more, a sophisticated solution will even alert you to low stock levels and reorder your best-selling items automatically for you so you never run out!With customisable re-order settings you can automate purchase orders which are sent directly to your suppliers.
Multiple Lines of Communication
It’s difficult enough managing customer communications through phone calls and emails so imagine the chaos when you add a website, social media and a couple of online marketplaces! Valuable customer messages can be easily overlooked, leading to a poor experience and the loss of selling opportunities. And, if you need to initiate contact with a customer, you have to work out which platform they used to purchase and then track down their contact details – it’s a minefield.
An omnichannel retail solution brings all your communications into one platform, regardless of how a customer has made contact or where they made their purchase, so you only have one inbox for all your sales channels. You can respond more quickly and accurately and manage all your customer details in one place.Develop individual customer profiles with full in-store and online sales history linked to each individual.
Complex Order Management
As if multiple communication methods isn’t enough to give you nightmares, imagine how messy your order processes would be without a suitable management solution. Receiving orders from multiple locations and platforms means you need a separate process for each, vastly increasing your administrative burden, taking longer to fulfil and requiring additional staff just to get your orders out the door.With Saledock’s stock control app you can turn your smartphone into a barcode scanner. Using your phone’s camera you can stock take and receive goods without any additional hardware.
As with a unified communication platform, syncing your orders into one system means you are less likely to miss orders and make mistakes and only need one order management process regardless of how many channels you use. And, with communications and order fulfilment under the same roof, you can automate customer messaging such as dispatch notifications so your customers are always reliably informed of their order progress.With Saledock’s real-time order functionality you can fulfil your orders and even print shipping labels.
Multiple Software and Systems
The need for multiple software for different business applications is common. In addition to managing seller accounts for various platforms like eBay and Amazon, most omnichannel businesses also use accounting software, couriers, payment gateways and then of course, in-store retail. To manage each of these often requires multiple staff and a significant level of coordination between departments.
However, with an omnichannel software solution, you can integrate every element of your operation into one single system, significantly reducing your administrative burden and the number of people required to perform daily activities associated with multiple software and systems.Saledock’s web based solution drives both your online store and your in-store ePOS.
Whichever stage you are at in your omnichannel retail business, it’s important that you address the issues we have covered in this article at the earliest opportunity in order to avoid costly operational issues, both now and in the future.
Saledock is an ideal solution for both retailers at the beginning of their omnichannel journey and for those wishing to start afresh with a new, unified system. Why not schedule a quick discovery call today and get free, honest advice on the best solution for your business. Book a demo or visit our contact page.
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