What is multichannel and why does it matter so much?
The word "multichannel", and even bolder terms such as "omnichannel" and "total retail" are key statements about where retail is going.
"Multichannel" points up the fact that there are always more selling channels appearing.
You must participate in these and begin to merge channels to maximise your sales potential.
In an IRP World sense, we define the sales channel as the actual way that an item is purchased:
- Web sale
- EPOS retail sale
We sometimes augment this to say that a Stock Control system helps to tie these channels together in a systematic way so that operational efficiency is achieved.
Separate to this but also important are marketing channels. We define the following channels for online marketing and customer acquisition:
- Paid search marketing (e.g. pay per click)
- Affiliate marketing
- Organic search traffic (e.g. search engine optimisation and content production)
- Free social media marketing
- Paid social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Remarketing and display advertising
- Paid offline advertising
- Referral traffic
- Comparison and Review Sites
- Other (a catch-all category for channels that currently have no name)
Multichannel is more than web sale, EPOS, telesale and mobile.
Multichannel thinking is based on understanding how you can maximise every touch point with a customer to ensure that you can cross-sell between channels and maximise sales.
Multichannel thinking means understanding the opportunities that exist technically within the IRP for sales.
Research shows that a multichannel customer is more valuable than an online or an offline customer. Therefore you must have a strategy to ensure that there is cross-selling between channels.
If a company is not set up for multichannel and aligned correctly, retail and web sales can be seen as competition. It is vital that they work together and that all touches, especially with retail customers, alert the customer to the web offering.