02 Sep 2019

Connecting the Dots – Multichannel Selling and the Route to Success

As the customer journey continues to transform, with customers changing how, where and when they are making purchases, multichannel selling is becoming a key component of many retailer’s strategies. This can be as simple as a small independent brick and mortar business creating a website and selling a few products a month online or can range to a multinational ecommerce website moving into new social media channels to sell to customers. Connecting these channels however remains a key challenge for all multichannel retailers.  

Speaking to the team ahead of Autumn Fair, Adam Finnan, Merchant Success Manager at Shopify Plus explained how Shopify supports retailers, whilst also sharing his thoughts on the direction of ecommerce as a whole and the future of multichannel selling.

From small market stalls to the Kardashians, Shopify works with retailers of all sizes and their hundreds of thousands of merchants are the foundation of their expertise.

“Merchant success is essentially the combined knowledge of hundreds of thousands of stores and knowledge is shared in this network. We can see things that merchants aren’t thinking about and then use this to help merchants.”

This idea of businesses learning from each other with Shopify helping to link this together is particularly relevant when it comes to multichannel selling, with successful businesses in specific channels being able to share their methods with merchants moving into new channels. This is a core concept of Shopify Plus’s Merchant Success Model (MGM) and along with the Shopify Academy demonstrates that Shopify is more than simply an online platform but a real thought leader in ecommerce and multichannel selling.

Adam goes on to explain how customer’s expectations have grown in tandem alongside the expansion of ecommerce, with the customer journey itself changing massively.

“One of the key changes in the past few years is multi-device shopping with mobile being top. People may start looking for an item on the train or even the toilet on their mobile then switch later in the day to their laptop or tablet to finalise their purchase.”

The importance of a mobile friendly website cannot be underestimated here. With Adam adding “mobile is constantly growing as the number one traffic source.” In a crowded field a user-friendly mobile site provides an opportunity for retailers to differentiate themselves. “At the end of the day as a merchant you should make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy from you.” With consumers spending increasingly more time on their mobiles, a simple and easy to use mobile website can mean the difference between a customer quickly purchasing a product or leaving the item forgotten in a basket.

Another key area that multichannel retailers need to focus on is personalisation. “People expect to be talked to as an individual” and although this is not an old concept, advances in data means that a personalised service is no longer restricted to brick and mortar retailers and can make a real difference in online channels.

“This can be the products people see when they visit your store, the emails they get or Ads they see during the re-targeting. Creating these experiences is easy with the right apps or softwares. Many of which work seamlessly with Shopify. Use of chat bots to help with conversational commerce will also become more expected and helpful to customers in finding the products they want to buy. Whether that is to a live chat to a sales agent, or a pre-built conversational bot with rules and triggers to help navigate customers towards a sale.” 

Knowing your customer can go a long way here with data and technology aiding the customer journey and creating a great experience. Adam goes on to say that “brands who provide a better customer experience will be the ones who thrive. From shopping to unboxing.” Personalisation is a huge part of this customer experience and it doesn’t take a retail expert to realise that a positive customer experience can lead to repeat purchases and customer loyalty. If this personalisation can then be connected across various channels this can lead to seamless and highly positive customer experience.

In the hyper competitive retail market, multichannel selling presents an opportunity for retailers to reach new customers and embed further with more familiar customers. The key will be to integrate and connect these channels to create a personalised customer journey that makes it as easy as possible for customers to make purchases, no matter which channel. This as Adam puts it is the most important thing that a retailer can do, “at the end of the day, as a merchant – you should make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy from you.”

Find out more about multichannel selling in Adam’s seminar at Autumn Fair, The Future of Multichannel Commerce, in the Retail Skills Theatre at Autumn Fair on Tuesday the 3rd of September at 12:15

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