Omnichannel commerce - enabling customers to shop in physical or digital stores and on any mobile device - is now an essential part of running a successful retail business. According to the Office for National Statistics, online sales in the UK increased by 21% in 2016 and are expected to reach 30% by the second half of 2017.
That’s a lot of sales, which is why it is important to provide consumers with the ability to shop both online and offline, so that you’re staying competitive. That said, transitioning to an omnichannel business can be a little intimidating. The good news is that selling everywhere is easier than you think.
Here are a few tips for running a successful omnichannel business with ease:
The Right Technology
Providing your customers with the opportunity to shop across multiple channels can be simplified by managing it all in one place. Managing multiple storefronts is easy with a real-time synchronization. Automatically update your inventory and order data across online and offline channels, thus streamlining store management and preventing issues like double entry and inventory discrepancies. If someone orders an item online, you’ll instantly be notified so that you can remove that item from your shelves. Ecwid + Square—now available in the UK—is an example of a powerful online-offline integration solution for retailers—offering payments, e-commerce and point of sale (POS) all in one place.
A Solid Process
While having the right technology will take care of a lot of the legwork, when you are running multiple storefronts it is important to document what you want your order management process to look like. Figure out what should happen to a product from the time a customer places an order all the way through fulfillment. Will you have multiple processes depending on where the purchase was made (online vs. in-store)? The Ecwid + Square integration certainly makes it easier for you to figure this out, though it is best to document the end-to-end flow so that you can validate your process and easily train staff.
The right technology and process is important but the backbone of any business is its people. Make sure that all of your employees understand and execute your processes correctly. Each staff member should have a designated role and be trained accordingly. Some employees may be responsible for managing your online store, while others may work in your physical store but also need to ensure that all online sales are being fulfilled and shipped. Having well-trained staff will give you the peace of mind that everything is running smoothly, while you’re off focusing on growing your business.
Don’t let the intimidation of switching to an omnichannel business stop you from making the move. Take a step in the right direction and do it today! It’s easy to get started.