If you’re a small business then limiting yourself to a single sales channel, whether it’s a retail shop, online store or online marketplaces, could mean you’re missing a trick if you want to expand and grow. Aside restricting your market there are other things you could be losing out on. We’ve collated our top five reasons why you should be seriously considering a multichannel model for your business:
1. More channel means more customersThe most obvious advantage is market volume. You’ll gain access to lot more potential customers is you opt to sell across multiple different channels. By having a presence on both the high street and the web you will give yourself exposure to a much broader audience, all of whom could be prospective buyers of your products. It’s a numbers game and more exposure equals more sales, so it makes sense to give your business the widest possible chance to net new customers and increase your profits.
2. Let your customers shop the way they wantWhat if a customer doesn’t want to come into town to visit your store? Or if they’re uncomfortable handing over their credit card detail online? What if they want to collect an item they have researched and ordered online? Or send something back that they bought in your shop? By offering online and offline options your give them the freedom that they want and this means your customers are more satisfied. Satisfied customers come back and buy more, satisfied customers tell their friends about you, by catering to their needs you will gain brand loyalty which will help to increase those sales.
3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basketWhen you opt for the multichannel model you avoid the risk of being over-dependent on a single channel. If Google’s latest algorithm update knocks your website out of the search listings, then at least you’re still taking in money from your high street sales. If there’s a foot of snow stopping people getting into the town centre, it’s okay because you can still make sales on eBay. By spreading your sales across a variety of channels you not only give your customers more option but you reduce the risk to your business of any unforeseen issues that might arise.
4. Different channels are more effective for different productsPeople tend to have a different set of needs depending on what product they are looking for. Someone looking for a bag might find it more convenient to purchase this from the comfort of their own home whereas someone buying clothes will often want to try them on before they buy so a physical shop would be their preferred channel. Online marketplaces are full of people looking for a bargain so this would be the ideal place for you to sell off old stock and sale items for a discounted price. Take a look at the data you collect from each channel and compare each product against each channel, you can then redistribute the amount you sell on each channel to get the optimal price for your goods.
Multichannel retail is the way of the future, as a small business you are agile enough to be able to get on board with this upward curving trend quickly and easily. Many similar businesses are still stuck in the past so why not take this opportunity to get ahead of the competition?