Consumers are now shopping in more ways than ever, and they respond well to having the option to shop on multiple platforms, a trend that hasn’t escaped retailers. In this article, we explain what multichannel retailing is and how it can help you boost sales.
What is multichannel retailing?
Multichannel retailing is a selling strategy which uses multiple online platforms to target customers other than the company website. Many companies now use multichannel retailing to reach a larger audience and boost sales through platforms such as social media, online marketplaces, and other mediums.
A recent but popular way that retailers have been using the multichannel model includes social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Now more than ever, more retailers are creating Facebook Business pages with “buy” buttons, using Instagram business pages to market their products, and selling products directly with the “buy” button on Twitter and Pinterest.
Retailers use online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Rakuten to advertise and sell their products. Research suggests that many consumers begin their shopping experience on such marketplaces before going to company websites; an astounding 40% of those surveyed start searching on Amazon. Retailers should capitalise on the trend by adding their products to these alternative channels in order to reach a larger audience.
Comparison Shopping Engines
Lastly, Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) such as Google Product Search have become popular with consumers who want to find the best products for the best price. CSEs allow consumers to compare the prices on searched-for products at various online stores.
What Are the Benefits for Retailers?
The great thing about multichannel retailing is that retailers can now access a larger, more diverse consumer base who may otherwise have been inaccessible. Single channel retailing has shown itself to be inadequate in comparison with multichannel models, reaching more people and increasing sales. In fact, a 2015 Stitch Labs analysis of some seven million online orders compared single and multichannel retailers and found that retailers utilising two channels averaged double the revenue of those who sold only through one. Additionally, those who sold on two online marketplaces instead of just one (plus their website) averaged 190% more sales revenue than single-marketplace retailers.
Multichannel retailing is no longer only about increased advertising and brand awareness – social media and content platforms can now become direct sources of revenue by giving consumers the option to buy directly through these platforms.
Since retailers now have the ability to market themselves and sell their products through so many different channels, it is important that retailers differentiate their products from the competition. The digitalisation of consumerism means the market for many products is becoming increasingly crowded, so retailers need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.