Multichannel and omnichannel are a bit confusing to understand. But if understood well, will help you to select the right one among them both for your eCommerce business
itself means selling on many channels with fewer integration features while allowing customers to purchase the products wherever they prefer to browse or shop from.
unifies all the sales and marketing channels in order to create a common experience across your brands.
So, confusing ha!!! Let’s have an in-depth go through
The journey of buying takes on either of the four courses:
- Visiting physical stores and after comparison buying online
- Researching online and then buying from a physical store.
- Visiting various physical stores and buying from one of them
- Visiting various online stores and buying from one of them
So, now let’s look on to the selling channels and the way it works
means selling through traditional offline outlets as well as online outlets. Offline outlets include brick and mortar, consumer telemarketing, mail order catalogs and many more. While online outlet includes eCommerce sites, email marketing, social media, and various online marketplaces.
Multichannel selling places your product at the center. It can also be taken as the center of a multi-spoked wheel, where your customer is just one click away from buying your product.
Whether it’s an online or an offline purchase, your product is everywhere. In other words, you have lined up your products everywhere, and the customer buys your product, in the way he/she already shops.
But here comes a big problem!!!!
Here the channels are siloed, and so have very little interaction with each other.
Physical stores having their own stock will sell directly to the customer, while the website will have its own stock. During the return process items purchased from the store will have to be returned to the store only and you cannot return it on the online store. The retailers offline and online interaction is completely separated and is also treated as the separate business.
Secondly, adopting multichannel selling makes your internal management disastrous. You may face inventory glitches, warehouse mismanagement, logistic issues and thus at the same time you need to manage a healthy profit margin.
You should be able to centralize the entire operations. The back-end and the front-end processes should work in sync. Then only, you can expect to have a great customer interaction as well as can earn a good profit margin.
Omni Channel Selling
Today’s consumer doesn’t think about a brand as a silo. They expect the brand to have multiple touchpoints that would make their buying experience seamless and easy. If we think multichannel selling as a multi-spoked wheel, then think about the omnichannel as an immersion, that is pulled into the center of a brand’s gravity. In the omnichannel selling, the customer lies at the core.
Let me explain you omnichannel with an example. You are visiting a brick and motor store for that perfect pair of sandals. The store had the same model but not of your size. The situation turns like this:
- The store owner will check their stock and if not available will call another store to check if they have the same model and size.
- You stand there waiting for that pair of sandals.
- It may happen that the other store may have the sandals and they will hold it for a few hours until you reach to their store.
- If the other store doesn’t have the sandal then it may happen that the store owner may ask you to visit after some days after the new material or order comes in.
This scenario may not be upsetting if you are patient enough. But many of the customers don’t want to wait for a long time rather they would visit the competitor and make the purchase.
Omnichannel is the solution to this problem. In omnichannel selling, like multichannel selling it allows the business to offer products from different channels that include, online website, brick and mortar store, eCommerce marketplaces and many more. But the only difference is that, there is a clear communication maintained between the channels while providing real-time updates to each other.
As the stores are interlinked and using a single platform, you get the total visibility of the inventory and other businesses as well as operational processes. Let us take the example of the sandal. If the store you visited adopted the concept of omnichannel selling, your experience would have been different. The employee would be easily able to track the sandal across various sales channel and would have delivered from an in-stock location.
Barriers to omnichannel selling
Cost: One of the biggest hurdles while implementing the omnichannel selling is the cost. A retailer running a physical store might already have a POS system, that has already been customized as per their business requirement. The ERP system and the order management are likely to be highly integrated into the business systems. The implementation of omnichannel here may require huge investment while the business goes for the technology change. While implementing the technology, there might be a need of replacing the old legacy systems as well.
Culture: Another challenge faced while adopting the omnichannel selling is the culture of the business. For your business, to completely adopt the digital transformation you should first see that even the lower staff members are ready for the change. Many staff members may see this as a competition as selling online would not help them to earn that extra incentive or commission what they get during the sale at the physical store.
Depending upon your business operations and various associated factors you should choose the multichannel selling and omnichannel selling. Both are best in its own ways.
For multichannel selling to run smoothly and cost-effectively, KartzHub has the best multichannel software that helps you to maintain complete transparency and shows the real-time movement of goods and services. It helps you to maintain complete inventory, order management, accounting and shipping in a streamlined way.