Omni-channel retail is the practice of selling across many platforms, both digital and physical. In its simplest form, it can consist of a store with both a brick-and-mortar location and an eCommerce website. The most complex systems, though incorporate digital and social sales channels, as well as a physical storefront. This approach to sales has a lot of benefits. Chief among them is the ability to sell and provide service to customers regardless of where they live, how they prefer to shop, and which platforms they enjoy using the most.
There are many ways even the smallest eCommerce or physical store can become an omni-channel retailer without breaking the bank. In fact, increasing your presence in the market is conducive to improving sales and profits, as well as growing your brand and business. If you have an eCommerce store already, the best providers offer can provide you with integrated inventory management across all your channels. This makes it simple to track sales and stock levels, eliminating the danger of over-selling or ordering.
Pop-ups, markets, trade shows, and bricks and mortar
As an eCommerce store, there are many options for giving your business a physical presence. The most obvious is opening a store to sell your wares, but this isn’t always viable or affordable. With the rental costs, the expense of hiring staff, and the merchandising required to show off the products, your once sleek and cost-effective digital business can balloon into something unwieldy and, worse, unprofitable. Fortunately, there are other ways to test the waters without committing to a storefront lease.
Pop-ups for the holiday season are popular among large stores. The give businesses a face in the tourist and summer spots, without a long term commitment. There is, however, no reason your online business can’t take advantage of this trend as well. The glory of a pop-up lies in its simplicity. There is no permanent structure to invest in, no expensive storage or display requirements to pay for. Some of the best examples involve nothing more than some sheets covering a table, with products placed on top and business cards in full view. The pop-up is a brick and mortar store on a micro scale. It exposed your brand to people who may not buy online, haven’t found your business yet, or just prefer the experience of holding and touching a product before they buy.
The same is true of markets and trade shows, with businesses renting space to showcase their products. The beauty of a market is that people are there with the expectation of spending their money on something that catches their eye. It can be a lucrative exercise, both for the sales made and the brand exposure you receive.
Online marketplaces for complete digital coverage
Another option for existing eCommerce and brick and mortar stores is to use digital marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and Etsy. These add another dimension to your sales strategy and allow your brand to reach customers from around the world. Traditionally, these platforms have been used as starting points for people entering the world of online retail, but they are also valuable for established business that want to increase their exposure and widen their scope.
The big players in the eCommerce marketplace industry, such as eBay, provide the opportunity to present your product to millions and millions of engaged users. Their services are refined and streamlined, making it fast and simple to promote, sell, and get paid for your work. Smaller, and emerging markets, like Facebook’s new plunge into online shopping, provide a more targeted solution. Facebook uses all their gathered user intelligence to provide a solution that reaches deep into the user’s likes and demographic.
Creating an omni-channel presence that works for you
There is no one solution that will work for every business, so it is important to test and measure your initials forays. The pop-up stores can be a great proving ground for a future move into establishing a physical location while online marketplaces can provide a turn-key option to make a seamless transition to online retail.