First, understand the omni-channel experience
Modern consumers don’t just shop online or offline – they do both. As covered recently by RetailDIVE, 75 percent of “omni shoppers” conduct research online
to later make purchases in-store. This means that those who shop both on and offline are conducting online research before purchasing products at your establishment. So, though you may not (yet) have a channel setup for online sales, you need to keep online marketing at the forefront of your business strategy.
Omni-channel doesn’t just include a website and a brick and mortar store. It includes any variant of more than one of the following ways to place orders: in-store, phone, text message, email, website and other online channels (eBay, Amazon Seller Central, Etsy, social media, etc.). It is evident that having multiple ways to place orders is beneficial, as businesses that offer an omni-channel shopping experience have up to 91 percent more success
than those who do not. When offering retail products in your brick and mortar store, you need to provide more than one way to shop. This is what people expect!
Amazon is opening brick and mortar stores and “pick-up locations” across the United States. This is because they understand the value that an omni-channel shopping experience has on conversion. Since you already have a physical store, turn this move upside-down and apply it to your own business.
Omni-channel shopping options to offer
You don’t have to build an online store to create an omni-channel experience, but you can. Here are some ideas to open the doors to diverse shopping options.
- Launch your own eCommerce website - This one is obvious. Perhaps you’ve already considered launching your own online store, but decided that it will be too much work. Well, modern eCommerce platforms offer an array of options that make it easy for anyone to open an online store. Research some website builders and review their available options before you entirely rule-out this idea.
- Open a non-branded eCommerce store - Depending on your products, there may be another great option for you to sell your products. You’ve heard of Amazon, eBay and Etsy, but your options don’t end here. Research which existing websites might allow you to host products in your niche.
- Optimize the phone ordering process - Do your receptionists know how to process payments over the phone? Do you have an inventory management system to keep track of what’s in stock after someone places an order? In addition, ensure that you’re prepared to fulfill orders via phone.
- Add text and email ordering options - Allow your customers the ease of text message and email ordering by optimizing these platforms. Make sure email orders are directed to someone in your organization who can fulfill orders or that the process is automated.
- Offer your products on social media - Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram now have marketplaces where you can sell your products. If your target market is on one or these platforms, why aren’t your products?
Next, learn to streamline the omni-channel experience
These tactics will help you provide an optimized experience for shoppers across all channels.
1. Offer free or low-cost shipping
Amazon’s Prime membership costs $99 per year, and the main perk is “free” two-day shipping. Why? Because Amazon knows that most customers consider free shipping a top incentive when ordering a product for delivery. If you can offer free or low-cost shipping
, you will undoubtedly increase your conversion rate.
2. Know and deliver what your customers want with marketing automation
Amazon is a customer-centered platform, infamous for paying more attention to customers than sellers. According to Email Monday
, 67 percent of marketing leaders use an automation platform to monitor customer behavior, generate reports and alter business processes. In addition, 91 percent of users agree that software is a crucial part of their success. Use marketing automation software to find out what your customers are doing, what they want and how you can deliver it.
3. Use technology to manage your inventory
If a product in an Amazon warehouse is running low or out of stock, customers know before they make a purchase. Many business owners fail to do this, with 46 percent of businesses not tracking or using a manual inventory tracking method
. If you’re selling on multiple channels, you need inventory management software
to streamline the process.
4. Provide customers with tracking updates
Amazon offers branded, real-time tracking updates on package deliveries on their website and via email. Tracking updates create transparency
and give customers a greater sense of control, which means they’re more likely to make repeat purchases. When you open the omni-channel floodgates, you need to keep your customers in control of their buying experience. Use shipment tracking software to automate the process.
5. Bring staff management to the cloud
Amazon manages a large portion of their staff through the cloud. This isn’t just because they’re remote workers. Technology provides a way to automate nearly everything, and staff management is no exception. As a matter of fact, no matter your niche, you can find the perfect platform for your needs. For example, if you need staff scheduling for your security business, you can find it. Additionally, you should share documents and project management tasks online to avoid data loss.
You don’t necessarily have to sell online to experience Amazon-level success, but an omni-channel approach will take you much further. When offering product shipments, keep your costs to a minimum. Automate your digital marketing, inventory management and tracking updates to streamline your processes. If you follow this advice, you will be well on your way to exponentially increasing profits on retail sales.