Omnichannel is a cross-channel strategy used to enhance customer experience and drive better relationships across all channels and touchpoints. A business that follows an omnichannel approach has to be everywhere its customers are. Therefore, it is essential to choose proper sales channels to utilize the shopping experience as well as customer satisfaction.
What is the sales channel?
A sales channel is the way that services or products go from the manufacturer to the customers. In other words, a sales channel is all about closing a sale. The importance of sales channels is self-established as the product is created in a place while the consumption is scattered in many other ones. Therefore, these channels would be the links between producers and consumers. Choosing the right sales channels is crucial because it will determine the success or failure of the product as well as the business.
There are multiple sales channels available for almost every industry, especially the retail sector. Below are 5 must-have sales channels to successfully grow your business.
While the appeal of an online market is increasing day by day, shoppers still cannot resist the in-store experiences and certain benefits that brick-and-mortar stores offer. In this case, merchants would sell products through physical locations such as retail shops or showrooms. One of the biggest advantages of brick-and-mortar retailers is the ability to touch, feel, and test the products. Not only does this allow customers to establish a physical connection with items that potentially leads to purchases, but also lowers the number of product returns compared to online stores. If you don’t want to wait 1-3 days to receive delivery orders, you can just visit the store to pick up the items immediately.
Face-to-face customer service continues to gain customer trust since there are kinds of personalized experiences that online websites might not have. According to the 2018 Retail CX Trends study, 30% of respondents said personalized treatment elevates an experience and makes them feel special. For example, if you visit a fashion retail store, the staff can give you useful advice on which shirt matches with which trouser/skirt, which colors look good together, etc. Moreover, the consistent and tailored services of physical stores will save time and improve the overall experience.
There are things that online shopping can’t duplicate, making one thing clear: the need for an offline store is here to stay.
According to UNCTAD analysis, cross-border B2C e-commerce sales amounted to $404 billion in 2018. The figure shows how having an e-commerce presence should be one of your top priorities as an omnichannel business. A business with an e-commerce website seems to look more credible and trustworthy than one with only a social media page. Furthermore, a site is a great way to drive more customers, revenue, and overall value to your retail business.
There are multiple e-commerce platforms for you to choose from such as Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and many more. Most platforms have a relatively easy-to-use process for you to learn, even if you aren’t specialized in technology. If you want to leave it in the hands of experts, several agencies can do the job for you at an affordable price.
An online store allows you to fully expand your product ranges as well as broaden your brand. Customers can visit your store at any time, no matter what their schedule might be. Busy people don’t always have time for in-store shopping, instead, they choose to shop online. Having no online stores will result in your losing potential online customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising also help with building up brand awareness. For that reason, try to build your e-commerce website along with these tools so that customers can find you by searching for relevant keywords.
Social media is one of the best sales channels you can capitalize on. There are roughly 2.3 billion people using social media worldwide, so why don’t take advantage of this to make your brand go viral on these platforms?
Facebook has a feature for retailers to set up a Facebook Store, which can integrate with the online store to sell directly from the business’s Facebook page. Pinterest and Instagram also offer the same shopping functionality if you prefer those platforms or currently have more customer engagement there. Sellers can create collections of featured products and freely customize their storefronts on these.
Whenever a customer hears about a new product, the first thing they will do is to look up the company on social media. They will search for reviews that others say about the brand or products. Therefore, your omnichannel experience needs to take social platforms seriously to offer seamless interaction with clients. A large number of potential consumers, generation Z in particular, will like a brand for its seamless shopping experience, rather than its price. It is the experience that makes the difference for them, not the price they pay for the product or service. This means that social media would help you a lot with building your brand awareness, plus attract new shoppers.
Online marketplaces represent an additional sales channel that allows you to sell goods without setting up a whole online store. These are a big opportunity for distributors to reach new markets and customers, expanding their share of wallet. By selling through an online marketplace, you can reach a wider net of potential overseas clients. International operators like Amazon or eBay usually provide support for this kind of cross-border sales. As a bonus, using this sales channel can reduce your marketing costs compared to other channels.
Online marketplaces are popular among shoppers as a convenient way to compare prices and products from a single source. Customers can easily view product availability, prices, and stock levels in an open environment, which would create great transparency. Furthermore, being part of an established online marketplace will boost customer trust in your brand.
Direct marketing is a form of advertising that businesses send directly to their potential or existing customers. This indicates directly reaching out to prospective shoppers by telephone, door-to-door, or digital communication tools such as email. Effective direct marketing campaigns will call on your customer to act, such as receive further information, visit your website, or make a purchase. This, in turn, helps build a list of new potential customers for your business. You can then have a customer database to analyze who is likely to buy your product or service regularly.
Direct marketing helps you build direct relationships with your consumers. You can personalize promotions, offers, and special discounts to increase their connection to your brand. Very often, businesses will combine direct marketing and loyalty programs to maintain and build customer relationships. This can be done by offering birthday discounts, gift cards, sending invitations to upcoming events or sales, etc.
Another interesting fact is that direct approaches will offer direct feedback. These can be a great way to test new products or markets, review sales results, measure the effectiveness of your sales, and make some adjustments if needed. Whenever you start a direct marketing campaign, you should monitor and review the results to improve your future campaign.
The most common forms of direct marketing are telesales, direct mail, direct-response marketing, and many more.
To sum up
The success of your business depends on the sales channels you choose for your brand. No matter what platform you are looking for, these factors will remain important: business model, goals, target audience, and products. Be sure to use these as criteria when evaluating the right sales channels. We hope that you will be able to find the ones that work best for your brand!
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