Multichannel Retail on a Budget from Intelligent Retail

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Retail has changed and there are new opportunities

Multichannel retail on a budget

When your shop is buzzing with customers, there can be no feeling like it, quite thrilling. Although in the quiet times it can be disheartening when you consider those expensive resources not being used; rent, staff and stock. However, retail has changed and there are new opportunities.

When your shop is buzzing with customers, there can be no feeling like it, quite thrilling. Although in the quiet times it can be disheartening when you consider those expensive resources not being used; rent, staff and stock. However, retail has changed and there are new opportunities.

With shoppers spending 15% of their budgets via the internet, a market forecast to grow until at least 2014, smart retailers are realising that focussing all their resources on one selling channel, i.e. the high street, is not efficient. Instead they sell across multiple channels. So when the shop is quiet, the focus shifts to selling online.

A single store retailer in Wrexham did just this. They now sell in their shop, online and eBay. The result in the first year was 110% growth. They were not computer experts, but in the quiet times staff were encouraged to give it a go and before long were in the swing of things.

Here are some suggestions for multichannel retailing on a budget.

  • Website design no longer needs to cost a fortune. A professional design which communicates your brand values plus simple navigation is more important to shoppers than expensive flashy graphics.
  • Email marketing. A superb way of increasing business. They are simple to produce and cost just a couple of pence per email.
  • Find a niche. There are lots of niche opportunities not being fully exploited online. Find these by taking each of your product categories in turn, type into Google phrases your customers would use to find these products and see which is least competitive. You can tell this by counting how many Sponsored Links have your phrase in bold text.
  • Advertise on AdWords. Google will hold your hand for free with a friendly advisor. Type “Adwords Jumpstart” into Google and sign up.
  • Try eBay to move on some of that stock that’s not shifting. One of your staff could set up an account, get great photos from your suppliers and list that stock individually on eBay.

Retail has changed and there are new opportunities for shop owners outside of the shop doors. However, if you are thinking of branching out to new sales channels there is a word of caution. Managing your stock across different sales channels can quickly get out of hand unless it’s been thought through. Having different systems for shop and web will mean adding all products twice. Also there is stock availability to consider, when an item sells out of the shop do you want to be manually updating the website to say ‘Out of stock’?

EPoS systems are now being superseded by multichannel stock control systems which link the shop and website together. They provide a professional and sustainable way of running a modern multichannel business. Because technology is now cheaper than ever, a good multichannel retail system (such as Connect) can now be purchased from about £30-£50 per week.

This is an article written by David Mackley, MD at Intelligent Retail for 'Retail Management' supplement by Detail Extra Media.

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