omnichannel ecommerce

7 Reasons Why Omnichannel E-Commerce is the Future of Retail

EasyERP Team 21/10/2016

Are you relying on your website to sell products and wondering why sales volume is low? Well, the question may be generalised but it suggests the direction of thought. Read about how your business can benefit from omnichannel E-Commerce strategy and how it is related to ERP software.    

E-Commerce is blooming and comes in many ways. This new though already so established sales channel facilitates selling to a global marketplace for anyone. Virtual online stores in forms of websites, public marketplaces, shopping-comparison sites, E-Commerce platforms gave rise to multichannel E-Commerce .

Amazon, Ebay, Shopify and Alibaba are the places well-known to a common internet user, and are in use regularly by many, especially the generation of millennials. Businesses, from small-scale to large companies, may now benefit from software that integrates various channels and sales efforts. And many of them already do.

What is multichannel E-Commerce

Speaking broadly, multi-channel selling means putting products or services for sale on multiple platforms, including E-Commerce websites, marketplaces, and even offline.

Multichannel E-Commerce is a selling strategy that leverages various channels, instead of just company’s website. Multichannel E-Commerce suggests promotion and selling on social media, marketplaces, and other mediums.

Other variations, like “multichannel retail/marketing/selling/commerce” imply the same: providing customers more choices to get information on products. While some also define it as a combination of physical store and online activities, or as sales within various online channels, the main message here is that multiple channels increase sales opportunities and brand recognition.

Image: EasyERP

So without further ado, here are the reasons mentioned in the title.

#1 Reach

Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, a sales software vendor, states that businesses who follow the shopping trends will have an edge over competitors who don’t.

“More consumers are starting their online shopping experience through comparison-shopping engines, online search engines and marketplaces. It is actually a big opportunity for smaller businesses because they have a chance now. Instead of entering or something like that, merchants have a chance to get in front of that consumer once the consumer is at a search engine, at eBay or at a comparison shopping engine BizRate.”

Moreover, with a multichannel E-Commerce strategy you are able to scale up the business without investing in physical stores. Country level is no limit, as E-Commerce platforms (websites) are capable to work with multiple currencies, across multiple time zones.

85% of merchants view selling on multiple channels essential to their growth.Click To Tweet

#2 Shopping experience

The customer experience when buying products inevitably impacts the perception of your brand. With multichannel E-Commerce strategy your business should offer quality experience on every channel. If you keep company’s customer service standards clear at every stage and channel, if you keep sales and delivery policies consistent, you’ll get extra points as a brand.

Firstly, you can look up to established E-Commerce platforms. Ebay has about 700 million items placed by individuals and companies, Amazon has about 870 million. With poor user and shopping experience it’s doubtful they would have become so popular.

10:30 is the average time spent by customers on Amazon.Click To Tweet

Consumers, apparently, are becoming more comfortable with E-Commerce . Hence, they expect to spot a needed item, get similar suggestions, set a subscription, set to-do lists, mark “for me” or “for a gift”, pay for orders easily with a credit card, and get a timely delivery.

#3 Automated retail

There are many software solutions on the market of E-Commerce automation. Advantages of automation for retailers include: processing more orders, saving time on updating stock across E-Commerce platforms, faster processing orders from sale to shipment, saving time on updating financial accounts.

Multichannel E-Commerce combined with real-time software integration boost revenue by 30%.Click To Tweet

A software for omnichannel E-Commerce should synchronize accounting, purchase orders, point of sales (POS) systems, warehousing, and shipping. As a result, all those processes can be streamlined as the automated single workflow.

#4 Cost

The starting price plans per month are $9 on Shopify, $15 on Volusion, $20 on 3dcart, $30 on Bigcommerce. And these are just “tip of the iceberg” options. There are even E-Commerce platforms offering basic features for free. Also, most of platforms will scale up your plan depending on the revenue you make through their channel.

Besides, you can develop self-hosted E-Commerce solutions, taking better control over the costs. Open source platforms for E-Commerce like Magento, or plugins and extensions like WooCommerce, allow building your own site specifically for online retailing. Those are free as well, yet you’ll need to spend on coding and design.

Online marketplaces charge moderate rates for the items you sell there. For instance, monthly subscription fee on Amazon is £0.50 within Basic plan, and £25 within Pro (50 items sold per month).

Four Shopify plans range from $29 to $1.500 a month.     Click To Tweet

#5 Business identity

As you and your team follow your brand entity and marketing strategy with your products and/or services, similarly you can highlight it using multichannel E-Commerce options. Since there are dozens of platforms and hundreds of competitors on the market it is tough, yet it also presents a possibility to add “special touches”.

Successful brands represented on various E-Commerce platforms make use of unique ways of displaying and marketing their products. Eye-catching high quality photos, funny product descriptions, special packaging or delivery, user video reviews etc., i.e. personalisation to enhance engagement and customer retention. All of those means can definitely place you ahead and improve brand recognition.

Zooming, 360-viewing and color-scheming product images increases sales by 30-40%.Click To Tweet

#6 Mobile

Mobile continues to drive consumers of all categories to retail, as (smart)phones are implanted into the selling-n-buying processes. A year or two ago mobile experience wasn’t a concern for retailers, and now most of major marketplaces have mobile apps. Notably, Amazon has recently reported 80% of traffic coming via mobile apps.

In addition and rather relevant – it is convenient for consumers. Take millennials again, when they want to buy something what do they do? Go straight to a phone. Consequently, what are the possibilities here for retailers? No multichannel E-Commerce strategy should exclude the app culture. Even the smallest of businesses who can not afford own mobile app yet, can partner with delivery services or offer pre-orders by phone or online, as an example.

9m Americans have purchased products on a mobile device at least once.Click To Tweet

#7 Single point management

Obviously, when you sell on multiple channels the volumes of orders could get immense and varied from channel to channel. And thankfully, there are plenty software solutions for your multichannel E-Commerce efforts that can alleviate the stress, as well as save time and resources. The biggest hit, probably, is that you can manage all the sales channels activities from a single system.

If you need to manage orders across different channels, there’s an order management software to collect orders into one single interface. If you need to deal with “out of stock” issue, there’s an inventory management software that automates inventory levels and reduces double selling. If you need to upload and synchronize your stock to various channels at once, there are multichannel E-Commerce management tools. So basically any type of platforms, resource planning systems, extensions, modules. etc.

Up to 90% of operational duties in e-commerce one can automate and manage with software.Click To Tweet

The point is that: a) there are affordable multichannel listing and management tools, b) tools that can help any type of businesses, c) help to sell products across multiple sales channels, d) help to control inventory and/or manage orders, e) provide multichannel reporting and analytical data.