Multichannel retailing pertains to the practice of making brand merchandise available on multiple sales channels. The preferred channels can be offline or online, and can include physical stores, brand websites, social media platforms, comparison shopping engines, and marketplaces. Typically, businesses begin with one channel but later explore other means of selling their products.
Multichannel retailing gives brands and retailers the capability to connect to customers of various personas that come from different platforms and stages in the customer journey. It also recognizes that shoppers can take multiple paths to purchase, beginning on one sales channel but finalizing the transaction on another.
Types of Sales Channels
The emergence of multichannel retailing is due to customers landing on different channels before making a purchase. As such, it has become important for brands and retailers to expand and understand the value of each platform.
The following sales channels are the most commonly used by businesses:
- Brand website. The key advantage of your website is providing you with a means to personalize the customer experience. Visitors can find educational content meant to answer their questions. They can also utilize various on-site tools that connect them to products that best reflect their wants or needs.
- Social media platforms. Social media is an indispensable part of many customers’ routines, which is why it is a great way to connect shoppers to your products. Through your own social media accounts, you can engage your target audience and make your content shoppable. Sponsored posts through influencers can also reach new customers.
- Online marketplaces. Brands often put products on marketplaces to increase the visibility of their products. These are great for acquiring new customers and expanding the reach of your brand to new markets.
- Comparison shopping engines. Customers are often sensitive to price. These engines provide a convenient way to find the best product across channels fast.
Benefits of Multichannel Retailing
Multichannel retailing allows customers to discover your brand and your products on different platforms. Today, inspiration can strike anywhere, and it is important to meet shoppers when and where that happens.
That said, a significant portion of customers do not have the urge to buy instantly. In this case, it matters that multichannel retailing considers where your shoppers are in the customer journey. Having different platforms caters to different needs that your customers have at the moment while also being available should they finally take the plunge.
Multichannel retailing also affords businesses freedom and flexibility. Brands can rise above the limitations of one platform when products are available in different channels. In the same way, customers can find you at the right time, because they’re not limited to one platform to do so.