In sales, you won't succeed if you rely on a single channel for your retail store.
You need to diversify by finding different ways to deliver your product or service in front of your target audience. With increased visibility and presence, therefore, comes greater sales potential.
Of course, I'm not just referring to online means. If you have to make a sale by getting your butt off the chair and selling door to door, then you must do it! Making a profit is all about going outside your comfort zones to make people comfortable in buying from you.
Therefore, you need to look into omnichannel retail if you want to strike it rich with your retail store.
In this post, you get to learn what omnichannel retail is and what it means to provide your customers with an omnichannel shopping experience with the goal of increasing your sales and revenue.
What Is Omnichannel Retail?
Omnichannel retail is the approach of giving consumers a unified shopping experience through multiple sales channels. Aside from your e-commerce shop and brick-and-mortar store, you can make a sale from social media, customer support, mobile apps, and others. Also, all channels work together to make it easier for people to purchase from your store.
Since the omnichannel retail approach requires to you offer your business across multiple platforms, you need to manage your inventory much better. You can't just rely on lists and tabulated sheets manually written down by your employee.
Popular online store builder such as BigCommerce let you connect and sell your products on different marketplaces.
Because of omnichannel retail, you need to synchronize your inventory by managing them from a single dashboard. Every sale from different channels automatically goes into the inventory platform. This eliminates the manual process of managing your inventory and lets you focus on providing a seamless omnichannel shopping experience for your customers.
An example of omnichannel retail approach done the right way is Nike. Whenever customers enter one of their stores or visit their website, they get to experience the sportswear brand in innovative ways.
For example, its online shop, NikeID, offers people a way to access exclusive products that cannot buy from its local stores.
Through Nike's approach to omnichannel retail, they are transforming the buying habits of customers. By requiring them to sign up for a NikeID account to purchase certain products, they create an online ecosystem for their customers to thrive and revel in. At the same time, they are educating customers to purchase online instead of going to stores since the former is much more convenient.
How To Develop An Omnichannel Retail Experience
You don't need to have a sophisticated setup like Nike's for your omnichannel retail. The important thing is that you create different avenues for people to purchase from your business and synchronize all your channels for consistency.
Below are ideas on how you can start:
1- Use an inventory management platform
As mentioned earlier, you need to collect all sales from different retail channels. This way, you get accurate data not only of your inventory and product stocks but also how well each channel is selling. An inventory platform makes listing down your sales and managing your items much easier.
An example of such platform is Shopify POS. The platform also lets you accept different forms of payment, apply discounts and taxes, and email or text customers with a receipt of their purchase, to name a few. Shopify POS works best if you are using Shopify for your e-commerce site (learn more about Shopify here). However, you can also use the platform if you feel comfortable using it.
2- Set up campaigns using marketing automation
It's difficult to keep up with your retail business if you plan on manually selling your services to people via email or call. Even if you plan on hiring someone to do the job for you, that person needs more than just time and effort to get the job done.
A marketing automation tool makes reaching out to people much more comfortable for you. You won't have to type out your emails one day at a time for sending and determine which part of your sales funnel your leads are. With a marketing automation tool, you can schedule your email campaigns in advance to your email list. Also, you can profile all your leads and customers accurately, so you have a clearer idea of how to get them to purchase from you again.
Hubspot and Marketo are two of the prominent marketing automation software in the market. However, if you're starting out, MailChimp lets you collect up to 2,000 subscribers for free. From there, you can set up email campaigns that you can track and measure to determine how to improve their performances.
Once you're ready to transition to marketing automation features, MailChimp syncs with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Magento so you can extract your customer database and use the tool to manage your sales funnel.
3- Turn inquiries into sales with customer support
Customer support isn't just for answering questions or concerns people have about your business. You can use this opportunity to ease people into purchasing products from your shop, if not improve relations with your advocates. Take this big fan of Virgin Atlantic who took his concerns about the brand public on Twitter. Instead of shying away from the issue, Virgin's customer support reached back to not only ease the problem but made him feel valued and important.
Building good relations with customers and potential clients can only lead good things for your brand. Since people mostly take their frustrations out on social media, you need to monitor their messages and establish rapport with each one of them. Mention is a tool that helps uncover these mentions so you can touch base and improve relations with them.
You also need to consider making it easier for people to reach out to you online or via phone. A catch-all contact page is no longer enough since not all problems that they encounter with your brand are the same. Therefore, a tool like Zendesk make lines of communication open and available to people and your brand. Aside from online chat and call, you can create a Knowledge Base. It lets you document answers to all the questions people have asked so you can have your support team point to them instead.
Lots of parts make up effective omnichannel retail. You also need your business to make the transition from going offline to online and vice versa. The omnichannel retail approach is a challenge in itself for your retail store.
However, by offering more ways for customers to buy from you, the effort is all worth it. In a world where consumers dictate how you should serve them, giving them an omnichannel shopping experience helps your business win, plain and simple.