Torsten Bukau, Head of Partner Management of the software company Speed4Trade names four success factors for a prosperous change towards Omni-Channel-Sales.
The increasing digitalization of our living environment has changed our buying behaviour fundamentally: Retailers continue loosing access to their customers. Buyers don’t search for retailers any longer, but for a product. And online shoppers are less loyal. While I was asking myself in the past “I like your shoes – where did you get them?” I changed to “What brand is it?”.
Nowadays supporting an offline-online integrated shopping approach where buyers want to choose their preferred way and time of shopping is even more complex. What are the challenges and requirements in the Omni-Channel-Sales of today?
1. Be present at most of your customers’ daily touch points.
When it comes to 1a store location in the online business, visibility is essential. It’s associated with marketing costs – for online sales as well as for offline sales. A good option for many retailers is selling through highly visible online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon or Otto. This leads immediately to new customers, visibility and consequently to a higher turnover.
But for a prosperous online shop more factors have to be considered. These are for example price comparisons, partner listings, affiliate networks, Google Ads and SEO, but also add-on solutions like website controlling solutions or customer journey analytics. When talking about online visibility and touch points one should, of course, also not forget the Social Media.
2. Process automation and speed as a key for growth and scalability.
In the online business it is all about speed and process automation, as we may see in successful marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. Online sales processes are different from other sales channels and manual steps in the process chain eat up the margin. So make sure that your trading processes are seamlessly connected to your ERP and Merchandize Management System.
3. Think big and start small with a scalable and flexible software solution.
This is a very important factor for the success of your online business. There is not a single ecommerce company or solution, that can cover all aspects of ecommerce equally good. To become one of the leading companies in e-commerce one has to pick best-of-breed solutions. This is not a one-off activity but requires continuous improvement. Another point that should also be considered is that the demands of trading companies can differ one from another.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to choose a flexible software solution that allows an exchange of components without starting from scratch. Don’t make your system´s architecture depend on your online shop only. A best practice approach is choosing methods that combine the online and offline world.
emMida of Speed4Trade
4. Develop your e-commerce capabilities and improve incrementally.
My final recommendation focuses on the development of e-commerce capabilities where continuous improvement and experimental development become second nature: Think online and offline – and merge. If you are a local retailer without any e-commerce knowledge, start with simple solutions.
One of this simple solutions is “smart window shopping”, which we use at Speed4Trade. All a retailer technically needs is an internet browser and access to the World Wide Web. With selling items displayed in the shopping window costumers have the possibility to buy the desired product – even after hours.
Swinsh solution by Speed4Trade
A more advanced solution is the virtual shelf. It stands for “smart mobile shopping” and reduces your sales space while still offering long tail. Don’t send your customers away just because you don’t have the item on local stock. The online trade gains more and more market share because it is so convenient. Learn from the online business and improve your offline one – for more turnover online as well as offline.
Smobsh – virtual shelf by Speed4Trade
How do kids under 18 buy online? How do they pay? Offer the same product range to your offline customers as you would do online. Pick a product, choose the delivery option (click & collect or home delivery), print receipt and pay via your smart phone or at the cash desk probably in cash as you are used to. This is online-offline shopping in perfection – your costumers will thank you!
Finally measure your results – extend your key performance indicators by “turnover per system cost” as just relying on “turnover per store space” which will not do solely any longer.
Head of Partner Management of Speed4Trade GmbH