What is Multi-Channel is a comprehensive overview of what multi-channel selling is, what’s involved, and the typical segments of multi-channel sales.
Multi-channel selling is not a new strategy for small and mid-sized distributors, manufacturers, and online retailers, but as business advances further into the 21st century, it is becoming more of a necessity for success and growth.
So, what is multi-channel? Multi-channel is a term used to define sales strategies that meet their customers across a variety of channels. A multi-channel sales strategy usually includes a combination of direct, online, marketplace, and EDI sales.
What is Multi-Channel: Direct Selling
Most multi-channel retailers usually have at least one or two direct sales channels. Direct sales channels can include over-the-phone, face-to-face, catalog, mail order, and email sales. Before the internet, every business depended entirely on direct sales in one form or another. Now, direct sales channels are typically a branch of the multi-channel tree.
- Handle any direct sales channels alongside other channels with ease
- Mobile sales orders can be created in real-time from a wireless device
- Orders can include products, service fees, shipping and handling charges, and any other chargeable item or activity
- Set requested ship date & separate promise date
- Establish don’t ship before and don’t ship after dates
- Accept multiple payment options
- Book orders in advance of shipment without inventory commitment
What is Multi-Channel: Online Selling
Online selling, also known as eCommerce, is a one of the most popular methods of doing business to date. More and more small businesses have taken to eCommerce, developing personal web stores for their business in order to gain access to the billions of shoppers online. Introducing a web store into a multi-channel strategy is a surefire way to continue growing a product-selling business into the future.
- Interface to most shopping carts with one-time configuration using an easy-to-use mapping tool
- Automate order synchronization between Acctivate and website
- Integrate with FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, StarShip, ShipStation
- Send tracking information available to customers via email
- Include all product attributes online including images and descriptions
- Process credit card payments in real time
- Enjoy Drop Ship & 3PL support
- Utilize Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) process support
What is Multi-Channel: Marketplace Selling
Marketplace selling is a slightly newer concept than simply selling online through a web store. Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Overstock, and so on, operate differently than if a business just sells direct from their online store. Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay spend quite a bit of time directing traffic to their sites, and in turn, to the small businesses they support. While some marketplaces, like Amazon, take care of fulfillment, other’s do not. Additionally, sometimes a business can choose the type of partnership they desire.
While working with marketplaces can be extremely beneficial to a multi-channel strategy, work is still required. For the best success, a business needs a software like Acctivate to maintain real-time visibility into inventory that may not even be on site, but in a 3rd party warehouse.
What is Multi-Channel: EDI
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) refers to the most common method of selling associated with big box retailers. When a small business wants to work with a big box retailer like Target, Walmart, or Lowes, it is almost certain they will be required to become EDI compliant by utilizing an EDI management software like Acctivate.
The financial success that a partnership with a big box retailer can bring to a business cannot be understated, which is why it is key to have all other sales channels working properly and succinctly so an EDI channel can be opened. Having proper EDI management software eliminates the re-keying of documents, automates routine tasks, reduces errors, increases data accuracy, and makes a significant reduction in business expense possible.
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