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Managing Multichannel Mayhem

A big challenge facing independent retailers in 2013 is the convergence of the physical and digital worlds.

The shopper’s multichannel journey

A big challenge facing independent retailers in 2013 is the convergence of the physical and digital worlds. The buying decision journey has changed with a significant proportion of brands customers researching online first prior to purchase. It is a process that is becoming easier too with mobile (tablet and smart phone) now representing 30% of such research.

Your unseen competition!

In this research phase your customers are now influenced by many things including family and friends, reviews, blogs as well as traditional advertising media. However they are also being influenced by your competition too. For every email you send out this week you can guarantee there will be half a dozen or more of your competitors doing the same thing!       

The multichannel world is especially daunting for independent retailers, yet multichannel participation presents huge opportunities. It isn’t about the web competing against the traditional high-street; it is more about understanding and complementing consumer behaviours so consumers can access your brand across multiple touch points.  

How can Independent Retailers embrace & respond to the Multichannel challenge?

It is becoming increasingly difficult for smaller retailers to compete against the scale, cost advantages, marketing budgets and in-house expertise of larger players. However where larger retailers generally have the upper hand on price, they struggle to compete on expertise or customer experience.

The key for multichannel success for independent retailers is to communicate exactly what makes them special across channels emphasising factors such as the shopping experience, personality, customer service, character and originality of offerings, all the things that are often lacking in larger stores.

Our advice is to take a step back and evaluate where you currently are and where you need and want to be:

Top tips for Independent Retailers to consider in the Multichannel World

1.  Highlight what makes you different

  • Identify what makes you special, your unique selling points from a product and service perspective.

2.  Understand your Customers

  • Who are your customers and how will they want to interact with your brand?
  • Target appropriate channels to the right audience. For instance more mature customers are not likely to respond to social media efforts.

3.  Consider Channel Management Options

  • How are you going to manage the content and update all channels consistently?
  • Technology should carefully be chosen to support both consumer demands and retailer requirements.
  • Understand the mechanics of how you win the hearts of new customers and retain existing.

4.  Look to the Future

  • Consider how your business might grow and develop and how the shopping process will change too.
  • In an increasingly competitive world understand how ‘Loyalty’ could retain more of your existing customers.
  • Think ahead to develop a ‘Roadmap’ or plan of action to take your business forward and continue to meet your customer’s continually changing needs.

There are some great out of the box solutions available which can be implemented to help independent retailers to build attractive professional websites without huge costs and also ensure quality is translated across the entire delivery chain. Enabling technology allows retailers to manage content effectively across multiple touch points and helps to meet consumers’ expectations for a seamless, efficient and satisfying shopping experience across channels.

For more information please contact Marcus Thrall: Senior Business Consultant: Marketing on 0845 862 0416 Ext 7004/ marcust@wmps.com. Visit Redfish Group for double digit growth http://www.wmps.com

 

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