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Online Sales

WHAT IS MULTI-CHANNEL RETAIL

Multi-channel retail is using the combination of both online & offline channels to engage and make sales with your customers. ‘Online’ meaning your social media presence, website, online marketing etc. ‘Offline’ meaning your brick & mortar store, physical advertising in the form of posters, magazine ads etc.

  • Online + Offline = Oneline/Omni (or ALL)

An integrated multi-channel solution means linking some or all channels to provide a consistent brand experience, and thus build trust in your customer. A customer is more likely to purchase from a brand they trust. Progressive retailers are seamless in the transition between online & offline facilities- a superior experience is mirrored in all channels.

Multi-channel consumers spend 82% more per transaction than customers who shop in-store only (ABS). 

A customer’s OMNI-CHANNEL journey may entail:

Customer Omni Channel Journey Infographic

 


WHY MULTI-CHANNEL

The internet & technology, and mobile phones in particular, are changing the way people shop (and will continue to change as technology develops). Much shopper marketing spend is on in-store activation material; with many decisions being made before people reach the physical shop.

No longer is it about creating places to serve customers, it is about creating a connection with a customer in their place.

  • 8 out of 10 consumers research purchases online
  • 42% research & buy online
  • 51% research online & then buy in-store

MULTICHANNEL TRENDS & STRATEGY

  • Since late 2019, online sales have greatly increased. This is largely due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • Particular increases have been indicated in takeaway food, games & toys & department stores, with increases also in grocery & liquor, personal & recreational, media, household appliances, and fashion.
  • Thus if your business does not have an online component by now- you may be being left behind.

WHAT IS THE CONSUMER EXPECTING TO FIND WHEN RESEARCHING YOUR BUSINESS- it’s not just about your product!

  • Who you are
  • Where you are
  • Why they should seek you out
  • What you are offering them
  • Why they should trust you
  • Why they should become a return customer

Customer support, fulfillment & privacy policies now far outweigh price in the selection process.


TEN TIPS TO BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE ONLINE RETAIL STRATEGY

  • Develop a mobile optimised website
  • Check the performance of the site on multiple devices (mobile, tablet, laptop etc)- so you can see it from a Customer Experience viewpoint
  • Provide excellent product filtering
  • Provide context with advanced zoom imagery, 360º product rotation options, or AR
  • Provide pattern / colour / material close-ups to help customers clearly view product options
  • Consider creating product videos or buyers guides
  • Customer ratings/ reviews are VERY important
  • Consider a ‘showcase’ showroom that displays products in real life settings
  • Customer service is imperative
  • Create the convenience of different payment and delivery options. eg Click & Collect, Afterpay etc

ONLINE RETAILERS OBJECTIVES

  • To publicise the organisation’s names and intent
  • To counter competitor initiatives
  • To communicate specific product and service information
  • To generate online transactions (or orders)
  • To support sales enquiries that are not made online
  • To enable interaction with specific customers
  • To provide customer service (eg complaints handling)
  • To facilitate relationship development and maintenance with customers
  • To provide information (such as product inventory) to customers
  • To learn about customers’ requirements
  • To cut costs (eg advertising or direct marketing costs)

LOGISTICS TO CONSIDER

  • Transportation choices- air/ sea/ courier/ post/ van/ bike
  • Customer collection choices- where & when!
    • Use of other pick up points
    • Stores/ lockers
    • Other retailers (eg supermarkets)
  • The cost/ benefit of each logistical expense (particularly the highly regarded FREE SHIPPING incentive)
  • Reverse logistics- receiving returned stock- simplify the process so you can resell the items quickly

WEBSITE SOFTWARE OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

There are four common types: Off the shelf, Hosted software as a service, Tailored development, Bespoke development. There are many options to consider, with obvious pros and cons. See a few options listed below.

  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce Plus
  • Squarespace
  • BigCommerce
  • Magneto

BEST PRACTISE EXPERIENCE FOR MULTI-CHANNEL

Building a multi-channel experience is not difficult. Ensuring you provide a “best practice” experience across your website and store is the path to success. Consider the following:

  • Home/ About us- Who and what is your brand, your products/ services, purpose statement, personal story, team etc
  • Product info- Stock status, price, delivery fee, educational content, images (all sides) etc
  • Search & navigation- Sort & refine by brand/ colour/ price/ size etc
  • Merchandising & marketing- Consider allowing wish lists or bookmarking, coupons, cross-sell accessories etc
  • Basket & checkout- keep it simple & logical with many payment options
  • Customer profile management- Consider how to assist customers in managing their account; login, register, opt in- out, track deliveries etc
  • Email marketing- newsletters with promos etc
  • Store integration- Leverage your store by creating online promotions & offline conversations

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO) & SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING (SEM)

SEO- the practice of structuring the website and its content, obtaining inbound links from reputable websites and other activities to grain prominence within organic (un-paid) search results on relevant search times.
SEM- entails paid marketing efforts to gain prominence for a website on search engine listings, with the aim of attracting visitors who search on keywords via a search engine.

Consider paying someone to organise your Google Adwords for you (SEM), as it is a complex and continually evolving ticket that can greatly improve your online visibility.


HINTS FOR IMPROVING SEARCHABILITY

  • Relevant and niche keywords.
  • Regularly update your web content. Analyse your Google Analytics and change what isn’t working, continue doing what is working, and update regularly on popular pages.
  • Find popular and relevant sites to host a link to your site.