Making a strong start to sales this February will set your business up for a year of success. With new tools and integrations available to you with Square, taking your business omnichannel means you can start selling in more places than one. If this sounds overwhelming, fear not. We have the e-commerce experts at Ecwid on tap to walk you through how to get started. Make your move into the world of omnichannel retailing a breeze by connecting your Square account to Ecwid in the Square App Marketplace.
Providing an omnichannel shopping experience — enabling customers to shop seamlessly across offline and online stores and on any device or website — is rapidly becoming table stakes for retailers, especially small businesses.
A recent Harvard Business Review study of 46,000 shoppers found that omnichannel consumers spent an average of 4% more on every in-store shopping visit and 10% more online, than single-channel consumers. These shoppers also made 23% more repeat shopping trips to the store, and were more likely to recommend the brand to others.
According to a Forrester Research report, 62% of retailers say consumers today expect omnichannel functionality, and 54% of consumers prefer to buy online and then pick up their purchases in-store. In 2017, $1.8 trillion in US retail sales will result from an online-offline combination.
It’s clear that omnichannel commerce isn’t simply a trend, but today is an essential part of running a retail business and cannot be ignored. Merchants not selling through multiple channels risk frustrating potential customers and losing sales to omnichannel-savvy competitors.
What’s the Solution?
The good news is that selling everywhere can be easier than you think. Below are 3 key factors for omnichannel success and how you can apply them to your business.
Enabling your customers to shop across multiple channels can be streamlined and simplified by managing online and offline inventory, orders, and customers from a single, cloud platform. A good way to implement this is by integrating your physical and digital stores so they synchronize transactions and share data in real-time. One such example of an effective offline-online integration for retailers is the Square-Ecwid partnership, which recently launched its integrated payments, e-commerce and point-of-sale (POS) solution in Australia. And don’t forget about security! Keep your and your customers’ data secure. Be sure to use an e-commerce platform with PCI DSS Level 1 certification and SSL / HTTPS.
You will want to document your order management process for all sales channels. Map out what should happen to a product from the time a shopper places an order all the way through fulfillment. How does your merchandise move from one point to the next? Does the process change depending on where the order is placed (e.g. online vs. in-store)? Documenting the end-to-end flow not only helps you validate your process, but also simplifies staff training. Having a solid omnichannel order management process is critical, so take the time to iron this out.
And that brings us to our final point…
Technology and process is important, as is your team. See to it that your employees understand and fulfill your processes correctly. Conduct training sessions on omnichannel selling and fulfillment, so they understand the practice and their specific roles in your operation. For example, if someone places an order online, who removes that item from the shelf? Or, if you’re implementing click-and-collect, who will handle in-store pickup? Is your team ready to handle customer service requests? A well-trained team is key.
The bottom line
The future of retail is omnichannel, and the future is here. Consumers expect it, and competitors are delivering it. Take action and go omnichannel today. It’s easy to get started. Simply login to Square and select Ecwid e-commerce.