Scaling your eCommerce business towards growth does not come easy. As your business takes flight, it will keep growing year after year up until it reaches a growth plateau or you've grown so fast that you can't keep up with customer expectations and demands. It's important to think about a strategy for scaling your online business, so you're able to handle growth without suffering in other areas. One way to do that is with omnichannel strategies.
What are Omnichannel Strategies?
In its basic definition, omnichannel involves transacting across multiple channels. Don't confuse this with a multi-channel strategy. While it's true that multichannel eCommerce allows you to sell on various channels, omnichannel takes it a step further to connect all channels. As a result, customers have a seamless experience across all platforms.
Relying only on one online storefront to sell your products and services won't suffice if you want to scale your business. The key to having a competitive advantage in eCommerce is expanding your business to multiple channels and platforms, including social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram, and third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Shopify, and more. In short, you should open more points of sale and contact with potential customers. But most importantly, integrate technologies that organize and automate all these channels.
Research shows that customers use multiple channels during their purchase journey. Only when they have enough information to support their purchase decision, will they buy from a particular product or service provider. For example, a customer may browse the store's inventory on their phone, purchase later from their computer, and pick up the item from a physical location. You may also have multiple platforms to engage and connect with customers, including your online store, blog, social media pages, and third-party marketplaces. Buyers' journeys are becoming more complex, and it's not enough to be available across different platforms. You have to create a consistent brand interaction through all touchpoints, which is what omnichannel is all about. It integrates each device, platform, and channel used to communicate with the consumers to ensure consistent messaging and an overall seamless experience.
Why Is This a Good Strategy to Scale Your Business?
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Customers enjoy the option of being able to buy a product anywhere and get the same kind of service and support across all brand interactions. Online sellers with a solid omnichannel strategy can provide a consistent and seamless experience across all channels of interaction with customers, thus making customers' lives easier from start to finish. This ultimately boosts customer satisfaction, which means higher customer retention and loyalty as well.
Reach More Customers
The more sales channels you have, the bigger the audience you can reach. This is especially true when you partner with third-party online selling platforms and marketplaces that each have a large audience. For example, with Amazon's 300 million active users, there are many potential customers to reach. This can lead to more online traffic, which increases conversion and could produce more sales. At the very least, you'll get brand exposure.
Better Data Collection
An omnichannel strategy follows customer footprints and intent across various touchpoints. This allows you to gather more customer data and understand them better, including knowing what their preferences are, what offers they click on, which channels they favor, etc. With all that information at hand, eCommerce business owners can craft better marketing strategies, provide a better and more personalized customer experience, and make more effective business decisions.
Gain Competitive Advantage
With more businesses vying for online attention, being present on all channels that your potential customers are on will give you a competitive advantage. It ensures you don't lose an opportunity to make a sale because a competitor is making offers on a platform on which your brand isn't present. Also, by using the data talked about earlier to make better business decisions, you'll be able to overcome any unforeseen challenges and stay ahead of the competition.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
There's no denying that seamlessly managing multiple channels will take up more resources. You may need more staff to manage the various avenues through which customers interact with the business, as well as handle higher order volumes.
You'll also need to take out multiple subscriptions to tech providers for suitable software to communicate across a network of online channels. However, you can partner with an experienced logistics company for 3PL order fulfillment services to help you manage the process and keep everything working optimally.
Omnichannel brings a lot of moving parts that can be difficult to manage. When you add more channels, you'll likely have to outsource some of the work to third parties. This means managing them and sometimes even putting up with restrictive measures.
Creating the right omnichannel system will be challenging, risky, and require an upfront investment. Still, the benefits are sure to outweigh the drawbacks, as the system can pay back your investment and help scale your business to greater heights.
As your eCommerce business becomes larger, demand will also increase. For many small businesses, it can be challenging to keep up with the growing order volumes. This could mean more storage and labor needs, not to mention, self-fulfillment will eat up way too much of your time that you would better spend on other essential areas of the business. One effective way to scale your fulfillment operations while meeting customer demand is using a third-party logistics provider (3PL). This approach allows you to let the experts handle the logistics of getting products to the end customers on your behalf.
At Shipnetwork, we are experts in eCommerce fulfillment services and logistics and can help deliver your orders from multiple sales channels to your customers from any of our fulfillment warehouse locations. We create order fulfillment integration to all major third-party marketplaces to help optimize your omnichannel selling strategy. Request a quote today to see how outsourcing your logistics can benefit your growing eCommerce business.