How to combine online and offline sales channels effectively
Bricks-and-mortar retailers are increasingly being challenged by online retailers. But they won’t win the battle if they just join the ecommerce industry. In order to increase market share again, retailers need to combine online and offline sales channels effectively. Here’s how.
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Fact-Finder, a European search and navigation specialist, has published an e-book which details five strategically important steps retailers should take in order to blend digital and physical sales channels most effectively.
According to author Carsten Kraus, Founder and CEO of Fact-Finder, the future belongs to those who combine online and offline sales channels. But simply setting up an online shop will not be enough. “Such goals are seldom attained if the online shop is operated independently from the actual stores as part of a multichannel strategy.”
Dilemma for multichannel retailers
“This is because the intense price competition online creates a dilemma for multichannel retailers: online prices cannot be offered cost effectively in branches, because of the costs incurred by personnel and prime location. If the retailer does not take part in the price competition, customers buy from the online competition. However, if the retailer offers products in its online shop at a better price than in branches, then branch purchasers are driven online.”
So, the key to success, according to Kraus, is to offer customers real additional value in terms of their shopping comfort and experience. “Retailers should link their online and offline worlds, and realise an omnichannel strategy that clearly differentiates them from the competition. This can give bricks-and-mortar retailers major advantages over those purely selling online.”
In the e-book, Kraus sums up five steps to digitally linked retailing. These are:
• Create an online experience based on the newest standards
• Motivate online researchers to visit your brick-and-mortar stores
• Link your online and offline sales channels
• Learn from the behaviour of your customers – both online and offline
• Draw attention to your brick-and-mortar stores