Multi-channel retail - keys to success


 Multi-channel retail - keys to success

Today as never before, consumers can purchase from an ever-increasing number of retail outlets. As a result, retailers must find new ways to stand out from the competition. To do that they need to create memorable experiences in multiple channels such as digital and physical stores. This is where multi-channel retail comes into play. Multi-channel retail allows you to deliver a unique experience across channels delivering value for your customers while giving your store an edge against the competition. This is where the keys to success lie.

Multi-channel retailing is defined as an approach where retailers use various channels such as extensive digital capabilities, customer experience design and in-store marketing to deliver targeted value for customers across different touch points of the brand. Multi-channel retail can be achieved through a mix of strategies which includes creating consumer-centric stores, maximising e-commerce and integrating physical stores into the digital ecosystem. The ultimate aim is to create an engaging customer experience at every interaction throughout the customer journey; from shopping online, navigating in store to making a purchase.

Successful multi-channel retailing can deliver several benefits: reduced cost of managing a multi-channel environment, increase in customer engagement and experience as well as increased productivity. Multi-channel retailing not only creates better customer experiences but also provides retailers with a competitive advantage.

While there is no specific model of multi-channel retailing, there are certain strategies that can be applied to create a successful experience by:

We have already seen how retailers, especially those in the digital area, have started the trend of online sales and now we are seeing customers interested to shop both online and offline. It's very crucial to keep both the channels updated and keep them consistent with each other. This is where customer engagement and experience comes into play, because customers expect the same experience in both the channels. They want to be able to start their shopping journey from any channel and continue the journey until they make a purchase. It's critical for retailers to focus on providing an excellent customer experience with a strong customer engagement strategy across multiple channels and touch points. When you're trying to sell products online, it's more important to offer excellent customer service rather than just getting customers onto your website. To provide exceptional experiences across multiple channels you need to have a strong understanding of your customers wants and needs; their thoughts, feelings, behaviours and attitudes as well as their motivations for action.
The first step in building a strong customer experience is to have an understanding of trends in customer behaviour. It is always interesting to see how people buy products and how they interact with their retailers. To do that it's of the utmost importance to understand customers' shopping preferences, buying motives and their current or future shopping behaviour. Knowledge of your customers helps you identify where most potential customers are coming from, what they are looking for and what drives them to shop with you instead of your competitors. This knowledge is very useful when it comes to creating the right store environment and experience for your customers.
In order to create an enjoyable and engaging environment for your customer, it's vital that you have a strong understanding of the psychology behind buying decisions. If you're able to understand why your customers are buying from you, the amount of money they are willing to spend and the types of products they are looking for, then it becomes very easy for you to sell to them.
Taking into account how human nature affects shopping decisions is also important. People have the tendency to:

Remember that people have different shopping preferences on a wide range of factors including: time, place, age, gender, culture and country. It's important that these factors be considered when you're planning your strategy and implementation as well as when creating your customer experience. We've already seen how technology is changing people's shopping behaviour greatly; an example of this is the way customers use their smartphones while shopping in stores. In this case, the way customers interact with their smartphones while shopping has led to the gradual increase in popularity of using mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
Technology itself is no longer a barrier when it comes to customer experience. If you were to build your store with no consideration for the behaviour of your customers, then you will definitely fail. This is especially true outside of Europe and North America where a majority of retailers' customer experience is still built online. So if retailers want to be successful, they must create an environment that can adapt to new "technological developments. This means:

If you want to compete in the multi-channel retail market, you must build a seamless customer experience across all your channels. It's important to have a strategy where you're able to create a strong brand identity and shop in both physical stores and online in an easy and smooth manner. A seamless customer experience enables your customers to shop at multiple channels without having to make adjustments or choose the platform which suits them best.
The design of your store should also be taken into consideration when creating the customer experience across all channels. If you're confident that your store design is effective, remember that people may still choose another retailer instead of settling for yours. They are more likely to choose another retailer if you look unprofessional, old fashioned or outdated. It's not only important that you design your store well but it's also important that you think about how your customers will interact with your store. Whether you decide to go for a traditional store design approach or use a more engaging and interactive approach, the end goal is the same; to create an excellent customer experience across all your channels.
You must also make sure that the information on your website is easy to understand and concise so it can be easily shared with potential customers. Having an online presence in social media as well as on mobile applications can help to enhance the customer experience and share information in a quick and easy manner.
Being active on social media is a great way to listen to your customers and provide them with helpful information and assistance. It also provides you with the opportunity to interact with your customers and let them know that you are listening to their feedback. If you take your time, create a strategy and listen to what your customers have to say, then you'll be able to meet their needs more effectively. The more time you take in understanding how people shop and why they prefer shopping at specific stores or websites, then the more successful your business will become. So, if you want to create an excellent customer experience, you have to understand how your customers are thinking and behave.
Your customer has the right to expect a great shopping experience which is why it's important that you provide a memorable and enjoyable one. Having a strategy for customers who may not be able to physically visit your stores is vital in creating an excellent customer experience across all channels. Online retailers were generally built with online sales in mind which left out many potential customers who were not able to physically visit their store. You can now use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. in order to provide more details about your brands and products.

The purpose of this article is to make readers aware of the importance of creating an excellent customer experience and how you can do this by understanding your customers' behaviour.
Not only do customers shop online but they are also using specific channels for specific purposes. When you have a better understanding of how people shop, what they want and why they prefer one retailer over another, it becomes very easy to create an excellent customer experience which will bring new customers and keep them coming back for more.
Being active on social media can be a good way to listen to your customers and provide them with information in an effective manner. It's also important that you create a seamless customer experience in order to be able to compete at a global level.

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