Moving to a Multi-Channel Model

Before embarking on a move into the multichannel model, it is important to understand the capabilities of the various models, their potential impact on the business and on your customers, and the importance of developing an appropriate strategy to meet your business goals. The decisions made by the business should be considerate of the sales and service approach desired and be supportive of ensuring the best customer experience.

mutlichannel-01.png There are three main elements to consider in making the move to a Multi-channel model are;

→ Understanding the capabilities provided by online technologies

→ Improving the online customer experience

→ Assessing the impact of electronic enablement

1. Understanding the capabilities provided by online technologies

The positive impacts of technology upon retail businesses can be significant, including; 

  • Improved productivity through the use of automation.
  • Refined processes
  • Enhanced marketing application and reach
  • Additional services and products
  • The ability to analyse data in order to make better business decisions

Online customer experience is all about automation, brand expectation, and ease. In order to improve their online offer businesses need to know their customer’s journey.   In order to understand what makes customers tick, it may be helpful to understand the stages that affect their experience including search, navigation, point of purchase, delivery returning a product and calling for support.

 2. Improving the online customer experience

When developing an online business strategy there’s the risk of too much talk about multi channel and not enough focus on aligning the business with the customer’s journey. Viewing functionality and strategy from a customer experience perspective can help facilitate an ideal customer experience. It is important to understand the shopping journey of the target customer when starting to define e-commerce platform requirements.

Customer Service from a user’s perspective of a website includes:

  • Intuitive navigation
  • Automated follow up call or email
  • Great IA and usability (things where they should be)
  • Accurate product offer
  • Easy online to offline experience
  • Delivered my new TV to my home, brought inside, installed, trained me and then took away the packaging

A poor customer experience reflects poorly on your brand not just the business unit responsible for the part of the puzzle.

 3. Assessing the impact of electronic enablement

In addition to helping inform customer purchase decisions, the availability of the Internet as a service and sales channel is impacting customer store visits and purchasing behaviour, therefore electronic enablement does affect traditional channels to market.

In these circumstances, it is important to: 

  • Develop an understanding of the unique nature of Internet and electronically-based sales channels;
  • Recognise that consumers are becoming more likely to undertake online shopping, even if they subsequently make purchases offline;
  • Identify that customer experiences online do reflect upon your business and do impact your other sales channels.
  • Additional services and products
  • The ability to analyse data in order to make better business decisions

For online retailers making the most of electronic channels requires a consideration of their impact and synergies with respect to existing sales channels.

Looking to learn the fundamentals of E-business? The ARA Retail Institute provides leading accredited training options including the Diploma of Retail Management (Multichannel).




Find more information about the services provided by The ARA Retail Institute here.



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