It’s been the retail buzzword for a while now. And if you’re like more people than you realize, you might be wondering how exactly to do it. So, if finding the time was the first hurdle to climb, the second would be – How? How do you capture that multi-channel experience that people won’t stop talking about?
Solve the Impatient Buyer Problem. Go Same Day Local
In terms of your branding and the look and feel of your website, you’ll want to make each channel look the same. This will help your branding effort and provide a uniform and seamless experience for your customers. But that unfortunately is the easy part.
When reviewing some of the challenges of selling online one of the first hurdles that comes to mind is a customers need to have it now. While eCommerce is not designed to compete with that desire, it isn’t completely out of the question.
What if you could satisfy a local market and offer same day delivery in the local area around your warehouse or place of business? Just doing that may be a huge boost for your business and your multi-channel experience.
Data Collection is the Focus for 2018
It seems like the focus these days is on data. I suppose it makes sense. After all, how can you create the best shopping experience for your customers, if you don’t know anything about them? Further, the more data you collect, the more tailored you can make that experience. Here are a few ways to collect data from your visitors:
- Push registration on site. Most retailers require registration before checkout occurs. This way you may still get their information even if they abandon cart.
- Offer a discount in exchange for their sign-up to a newsletter or for their feedback response to a poll that you create. Or perhaps simply in exchange for their information. Ex. “Get the latest coupons each week delivered to your email by signing up!
- Create an app that goes along with your online store. A lot can be learned about your customers thru their interaction with the app.
- Subscription to a blog If you write articles be sure to offer the opportunity for individuals to subscribe to alerts that lets them know each time you publish a new post.
- Install Tracking and Track Everything – The more you track the more you will know about your customer. If you are unsure how to do this hire someone. It will be money well spent.
- Create your own Wishlist Program – A program created by ecommerce whereby registered users of a store can add items the “wish for” to their list. Once registered they will be able to create their wishlist of items which will be stored onsite. From this, you can create sales on popular items as a way of generating interest and sales and boosting customer loyalty.
- Use the Wishlist Idea for an App Consider making the wishlist as an app to include your mobile audience and to encourage the multi-channel buyer.
Other Ways to Enhance or Increase Loyalty
You can thank Amazon for a lot of the demands that your customers are making about their shopping preferences. Amazon has set the bar (quite high) and it may be challenging for smaller retailers to keep pace. However there is always something you can do to positively impact your sales.
- Add a “Wallet” feature as an option when customers check out. This way they can store credit card information along with any other details about their shopping behaviors, next time they check out it will be a one click quick process.(This happens to be the one thing I love most about shopping on Amazon)
- Invest in inventory management software to track inventory. Choose software services that are cloud based and are already integrated with online marketplaces. You can sell across multiple channels and be up and running fairly quick. Zenventory, our own inventory management software is also priced lower than most if not all, making it affordable for even small ecommerce retailers. This happens to be another way to learn more about your customers. Zenventory provides nearly endless reporting capabilities that can educate you on many aspects of your sales including most ordered products, who bought what and how often they purchased.
- Create a seamless experience for your customer no matter what method they are using to connect with your business. This may be challenging if you own a brick and mortar store and an online store. Focus on how you can tie the two together. I feel like this one idea deserves it’s own post. But think about how a customer could visit your website, and then visit your store in the same transaction. If it helps, consider that it doesn’t necessarily have to be for a purchase. Hint: They could be returning an item.
- Pay per click / Retargeting (based on previous interests) this is a Pay Per Click Marketing strategy that targets previous visitors to your site with the same or better offer on other pages across the web. In short, retargeting is basically an ad that follows your visitor around to other areas of the web as they surf.
Things to Consider about Data Collection
So if this didn’t already sound overwhelming to you allow me to throw in just one last caveat. With all this data collection alongside the recent data breaches like the Equifax one; people may be apprehensive to provide data but more importantly you must be extra careful when handling their data.
If you are going to collect and store customer data especially credit card data, you have to put some thought into it. Forget the idea of running with something your neighbor put together as a “for now” solution. The worst thing you could do for your own reputation is be the victim of a security breach with your customers records.
Sure credit cards are insured and after all, it’s not like you’re asking for their social security number. While this may be true, consider that you have probably walked over hot coals to earn their trust. Don’t let something, like a hacker, no matter how benign the breach may be, ruin that. In the customer’s eyes, the level of breach is irrelevant, it’s the loss of trust that could kill your business. It will be difficult, near impossible, to earn back that trust as quickly as it was swept away.