Why is it important for small businesses to embrace multi-channel marketing?

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If you are still stuck in a fog of ideas on multi-channel retailing, here is a quick explanation of how it works. Multi-channel marketing is all about not putting all your eggs in one basket. In the literal sense, multi-channel marketing is routing your selling through various avenues like a physical store, website, online marketplaces, social media sales and more.

Multi-channel retailing depicts a wider panorama of user engagement through myriad avenues such as brick-and-mortar storefronts, interactive websites, tablets, kiosks, mobile interface, social media engagement, calling and also digital signage.

Why is it important for small businesses to embrace multi-channel marketing?

Small businesses cannot invest huge amounts of money on adverts. So multi-channel marketing helps them reach out to customers and become more vocal. Small and medium businesses thrive on demographic needs. So for example if a customer is leaving a feedback about one of its products online, then SMBs need to get online to cater to that. Many shoppers even do a prior online research before buying something. If small businesses can come online with a catalog of their products, it allows them to cater to this market segment.

How small retailers are embracing the multi-channel challenge?

As larger high-street brands take on new digital strategies, smaller retailers find it hard to keep their competitive edge. In today’s competitive and uncertain retail landscape, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for smaller retailers to compete against the scale and cost advantages of the larger players. For many smaller retailers, online commerce had become a secret weapon, allowing them to compete on a more equal footing and in a marketplace where their disadvantages are less pronounced. Online sales channels provide smaller retailers with the opportunity to look comparable to the big players.

Advantages of small businesses adopting multi-channel retail model

  • Enhances your market presence

The best explanation to this is, as a small business you get to acquire all your potential customers across all segments. So for example you have a small store, a website, and social media presence and even selling on online marketplaces, you get a better outreach. This increases your brand being discovered more frequently and giving you more leads eventually.

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  • Combines the power of both traditional and digital channels

Small businesses can gain more out of this combination since they are not giving up any marketing channel. While their traditional ways remain intact, they can add more strategies to reach out. For example if you were sending out flyers and pamphlets, you can now also send out email newsletters regularly. On the other hand on the mail postcards that goes out to your customers, can now also have your online profiles like website URL, Facebook Page or Twitter profile.

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  • Reduces dependency on a single revenue source

Small businesses benefit a lot from multi-channel selling. It reduces the dependency on one revenue stream and always keeps other channels open to drive in more money. For example if your store is not having enough footfall, you might get a better revenue from your website. It might so happen that you drive in a lot of sales from your Google search rankings as well as from your listings on Etsy or eBay!

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  • Multi-channel retailing is easy to start and implement

Setting up a new channel is just like having many doors opened to a single room full of pie! So while your stock remains the same, you just start with a website or might be start listing your products on an online marketplace. Setting up an online store has also become easier with applications like Shopify, Magento, PrestaShop to name a few. Listing your products also does not take much pain with marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, Amazon and more. They also do not pinch your pocket much. There are many web applications that will help you with your business management in no time like integrating POS, inventories, accounts, order management, CRM and even your ecommerce store.

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Indulging in multi-channel marketing has shown great results for many brands and big players. It is time that even small businesses start reaching out to more customers instead of relying on a single traditional mode to sell. Consumers are changing and they expect businesses to bring in better integration of the offline and online shopping activities. With the advent of web technologies now it is easier to implement and track multi-channel marketing strategies. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into multi-channel marketing and its implementation.

[gap height=30] Looking to the future

It’s vital that smaller retailers continue to lead the way in multi-channel, and by offering their customers choice while teaming it with great, personal customer service they will continue to remain competitive. Embracing new technologies such as a commerce acceleration platform will transform their working processes and heighten the customer experience even more, which can only be a good thing.

Subhajit Goswami

Subhajit is a Business Development Professional with ability in managing Customer Accounts and Channel Business. His specific interest is in the areas of Retail Industry and ecommerce, Multichannel eRetail and ERP Systems.