As society becomes increasingly digital and we have more and more e-commerce giants dominating the online retail market, it’s easy for businesses to get caught up in the online world. And in many ways, the shift makes sense. After all, online retail platforms give customers what they want — variety, low prices and fast delivery.
However, while there is no doubt that the Australian retail landscape is changing dramatically (and big online retailers are creating many challenges for smaller sellers) there is still a big opportunity for small retailers to set themselves apart.
We’ve seen it before when shopping malls emerged to challenge retail strips, then when large coffee chains scaled up to compete with small cafes. Although there is an immediate impact to the market and a great deal of consolidation, smaller businesses can not only survive — they can thrive.
So, what’s the best way for Australia’s 2 million small businesses to stay competitive? Omnichannel selling (aka selling through both online and offline channels). Here are three reasons why you should consider this varied approach to selling:
It creates new income streams
Omnichannel retailing allows you to create new revenue streams by providing your customers more flexibility in where and how they can shop. Small retailers can easily save time and make more money by adopting digital tools to accept payments anywhere — via card, online or over the phone.
You can customise your offering
Face-to-face interaction and relationship building with customers is a major advantage that small retailers have over their larger counterparts. Remember, when you can’t compete on price or speed of delivery, customisation is critical. Buyers still value unique, handmade, high-quality and highly personalised products — and small retailers can take advantage of this niche.
You’ll gain better customer insights
Selling from a desktop computer, a mobile device, a telephone or in person also creates multiple channels of communication for your business. These channels all offer different avenues of information that you can use to gain better insights into your customers’ purchasing habits — whether they prefer to buy online, via mobile at night, for example. This can help you better manage your inventory, refine how you communicate with them and improve your overall customer experience.