In the last five years alone, ecommerce has transformed before retailers and consumers' eyes. The lines between physical and digital commerce are merging all the time, leading businesses to adopt a more omnichannel approach in their selling strategy.
Put simply, an omnichannel retail strategy is the practice of providing customers with a seamless shopping experience – from store to website. According to Omnisend, campaigns using multiple selling channels are likely to generate 287% more sales than those using a single-channel campaign.
As key players like Amazon and Facebook continue to set the bar higher for smarter and more efficient ways of selling, the rest of the business world has no choice but to stay on their toes. According to Google, ‘buy online’ related searches almost doubled during the first month of the pandemic and were up 50% across the globe during June 2020 alone. As some retailers continue to close shop, those with an online presence as well as a brick and mortar store continue to generate revenue during this time.
Unify your sales channels
The benefits that come from an online omnichannel presence are clear, but before you start expanding its essential to think about how your business is going to accommodate a rapid increase in sales (and stock).
What will happen when customers are ordering from different platforms? How will each order get fulfilled? How will you comfortably stay on top of your inventory?
With a fully integrated ERP software system, your selling channels become unified; meaning all your orders, data and accounts are getting stored in one central location. With the majority of your processes automated, you’re able to provide customers with the most seamless experience possible – whether that’s order updates or product availability.
How might that work in practice?
Imagine you have 20 tote bags. Ten are available on your website, and five are available on your Amazon store, another 5 in your physical store. As a customer makes an order for five bags on your website, the data is instantly adjusted within the ERP system hooked up to your business. That means updated inventory levels across all channels, a full audit trail of the order, as well as potentially triggering a re-order report to remind you to make a purchase order from your suppliers (based on pre-set minimum re-order levels).
Integrating ERP for omnichannel success
What makes an omnichannel strategy different from a multichannel strategy is that every selling channel is seen as connected. Whilst this approach can present more challenges when it comes to keeping orders separate but the strategy unified, the power of an ERP software system provides the tools to manage as many channels as you require seamlessly. Whether that’s in-store, on your website, Amazon, Etsy or just over the phone, your data and information remain accurate and accessible.
Going back to our example, say another customer was interested in purchasing more of the tote bags from your online store, but decide they would like to see it in person. When they come into your physical store, you’ll be able to check the quantity in the ERP system, which was updated to account for the previous sale of five tote bags placed online and any other sales that have come in from other channels. Once the purchase is made, the system will automatically update the item count and feed it back into your webstore and marketplaces.
Click here to find out more about how an ERP software system can work for your own business strategy.
Author: Megan Gee
Megan Gee is the Marketing Executive at Khaos Control, an all-in-one business management solution for businesses of all sizes. Megan is passionate about creating content that helps SME’s unlock their full potential.