Multichannel e-commerce is online retailer practice in which products or services are sold on more than one platform. Many vendors choose to do this to boost their brand’s direct exposure and consumer reach, leading to more sales. 

Is e-commerce always multichannel? #

E-commerce has become multichannel “naturally” because it mainly extends the physical store. Customers can access the retail business both in the real and online worlds, expecting a consistent user experience and more available purchasing options. 

Multichannel e-commerce management emerged from this suggestion. It consists of performing advertising techniques on all distribution networks simultaneously to expand the business audience by increasing contact channels such as:

  • online sales platforms
  • social media platforms
  • mobile applications
  • physical stores
  • third party distributors

However, retail businesses can be online-oriented without a physical presence, but other online media channels should always be used to maximize success.

Multichannel e-commerce software  #

One of the main roadblocks for business owners in creating a multichannel strategy is that they do not have additional help. Besides, one network is hard enough to manage. This is why multichannel software exists: to make creating a multichannel experience much easier and cost-effective. 

It helps the retail business function more efficiently throughout numerous channels without logging into each channel individually for the same tasks. It saves the business inconvenience of repeating the same thing for each channel and integrating inventory or sales numbers by hand. It should be kept in mind that a multichannel system is very different from an ERP. While both offer the capability to simplify procedures, multichannel software is specifically designed for e-commerce. It often tends to be faster to execute and more in touch with how e-commerce networks work. There are also various sorts of solutions to select, and here are the most popular:

  • WooCommerce
  • Shopify
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Walmart

Is multichannel the same as omnichannel? #

Although both multichannel and omnichannel involve sales across multiple physical and digital channels, the key difference is how the user experience connects on those channels. A traditional multichannel retailer may have a website and physical stores. These two channels are generally very isolated and have very little interaction with each other.

Stores will have their stock and sell directly to customers, while the website will have its own stock. In-store items can only be returned to the store, and sometimes online orders cannot be returned to the store. Thus, online and offline customer-business interactions are entirely separate.

For omnichannel, it’s all about the customer. The goal is not to create many communication channels but to provide a smooth customer experience while the customers move from one channel to another. For example, customers should be able to see a product online, order it on social media, pick it up in a physical store, and vice versa. 

87% of retailers agree that a seamless omnichannel retail strategy is crucial to their business success and prosperity in the long run. More innovative and affordable retail solutions that allow brands to bridge the channel gap and enable consumers to create their own journeys with that brand have become the key to e-commerce success.

Do you want to learn more about e-commerce? Continue reading about → Omnichannel e-commerce.

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