In the meantime, the majority of traders are no longer only stationary they are online activities as well. The focus on different sales opportunities makes it clear that the aim is usually not to replace individual channels but rather to expand them with new sales channels. The aim is to open up new markets and target groups and thus boost sales. This is how retailers can meet the dynamically changing buying behavior of customers. Thus, both retailers and wholesalers increasingly rely on the use of several distribution channels.
For retailers, multi-channeling has various advantages: In addition to gaining new clientele, as already mentioned at the beginning, different sales options also mean greater visibility and accessibility. Information can be passed on to the customer much more easily. Moreover, the current situation, in particular, shows that multiple sales channels allow for a certain flexibility and security. A major advantage is also that additional information can be gained about their clientele, which means a better understanding of their needs and behaviors. In addition, a FAQ section in the online shop, for example, which relieves the service hotline, can ensure greater efficiency.
There are also advantages for the customer himself: It extends the accessibility for the customer, makes personal and individual advice as well as convenient as ordering from home. Through additional information, the purchase decision is supported.
Despite these potentials, it is important, especially for medium-sized companies, to focus on the essential sales channels. Setting up, coordinating, and maintaining several channels is time-consuming and may be costly. The goal should be to establish a well-integrated technical infrastructure in order to perfectly network and monitor all channels. This is because the number of sales channels also increases the complexity and makes it more difficult to coordinate the sales channels with each other.
Delays or even delivery bottlenecks and system errors reduce the customer's buying experience and lower the probability of a repeat purchase. In order to support the coordination of the various sales and contact channels well, it, therefore, makes sense to have a suitably aligned ERP system. This way, sales, merchandise management, and logistics processes can be linked. Inventory, prices, and article information thus remain well synchronized with each other across channels.
It is also important that the ERP system can be used to track order statuses and similar information at any time. It is also advisable if the webshop is directly integrated into the ERP system so that, if possible, no external interfaces have to be integrated and adapted. Another significant advantage of a flexible ERP system is also in terms of the possibilities that arise from the data obtained. For example, an ERP designed for this purpose makes it easier for retailers to bring together the relevant information from the great wealth of data, which provides valuable insights and supports decision-making. With the data from different channels, an overall picture can emerge. Additionally, integrated CRM solutions help to keep an eye on customer management.
Published in netzwoche CH (07/21)