The multichannel movement’s arriving fast: is your business ready?

Multichannel

If this month’s Apple Watch launch underlined anything about today’s consumers it’s that they love technology.

Wherever you look, people are blending their online and offline experiences using connected devices – and this is changing the game for the retail sector.

The multichannel movement has created new challenges and opportunities for retailers wanting to capture customer value at every touch point, particularly online.

Over the past 12 months, the enormous increase in mobile retail has led to eCommerce’s importance soaring. Already Multichannelwe’re seeing promotional events such as Black Friday become a global retail phenomenon. In fact, according to a recent report by Dunnhumby, 20% of total growth in established markets will come from online shopping in the next 5 years.

However, it’s important to remember that online shopping is only half the story. There are very few consumers who shop exclusively through the internet. Whether the final sale is attributed to eCommerce or the store, it is likely that the buyer has interacted with the retailer across both channels, using multiple devices, on their journey to purchase.

What does this multichannel movement mean for retailers?

Most importantly, the rise of multichannel has created a compulsion to offer consumers a seamless journey however they shop. Desktop, mobile and store shopping can no longer be treated as separate entities; they are part of the same customer journey, and therefore a common brand identity and product availability must exist throughout.

For retailer eCommerce platforms in particular, this means optimising websites for use on all devices. The importance of responsive content will increase further next month when Google updates its search engine criteria to prioritise mobile optimised websites – highlighting that consumers must be able to find and view content easily, and purchase quickly, even on small screen.

It also means that the digital journey must be firmly integrated with offline activities. One of the greatest challenges for today’s retailers is integrating bricks and mortar into the multichannel experience.

More often than not, shoppers enter a store with some level of knowledge from online research. This last point in the journey involves seeing and trying the item at the shelf edge, and asking final, detailed questions that perhaps can’t be addressed online.

Equipping customer service personnel with Mobile POS technology linked to back-end systems provides access to this depth of knowledge. It also enables staff to pull up recent orders or abandoned purchases, to continue shoppers’ online journeys in the store.

How can retailers best serve multichannel shoppers?

There’s no doubting that multichannel shopping is a complicated world, with many technology solutions available to address these complexities. The key for retailers is to implement systems that enable them to flexibly serve and customise experiences for shoppers in all channels.

Good news is on the horizon for those that achieve this agility – as the Dunnhumby report notes, multichannel customers are worth 30-67% more on average than those who shop in a single channel. It seems the multichannel movement is packed with shoppers who are hard to negotiate to the checkout, but who reward great experiences richly once they get there.

Go Online with an Integrated eCommerce Solution

Go Online with an Integrated eCommerce Solution

eCommerce portals are now a mainstream channel of sales for retail interactions offering new opportunities to augment revenue and get closer to customers. They act as important retail touch point to connect with business associates and customers’ to build a steady stream of revenue. In this issue of Retail insights we discuss the features that an Integrated eCommerce solution must have to suffice the demands of modern retail.Magazine

Traditional portal platforms come with a generic and loosely coupled integration with the retail ecosystem. A consulting engagement or a large development project is required to complete the integration. These and such projects often end up as a heap of functionality that is difficult to deploy and use.

On the other hand iVend eCommerce, an integral part of iVend Retail Management Suite reduces the need for a lengthy consulting engagement, allowing a retail enterprise to deliver results faster.

iVend eCommerce therefore significantly reduces the time to Market.

Download the Magazine to learn more about iVend eCommerce

What to look for in an Online Storefront?

E-commerce is a valuable and often essential aspect to any business, regardless of what is sold and what services are provided. Allowing customers the ability to obtain goods over the Internet is necessary in this day and age, not only to offer the best services for clients and customers but also to stay relevant. Without these services the competition is more likely to move forward and take advantage of the lack of e-commerce business. From the overall importance of an integrated e-commerce system to the overall facets of a multi-channel system, this all is able to go to great lengths to ensure the business is running at its utmost capacity.

Having everything fully integrated into a single retail system is incredibly important, as it makes the entire system work flawlessly. All aspects of the business need to run through one main hub, otherwise it becomes difficult to know where all sales and products are coming from. The point of sales system, or POS, is the point of any transaction in which a customer actually pays for the product. Knowing where each of these sales comes from through the help of a single system makes it easier to track sales, which in turn shows what form of service is working the best, what product is selling best using online, mobile or in person sales services, not to mention it makes it easier for the client themselves to make and order. If they have an in person account it is easier for them to log into their account online, view past purchases and buy similar content without ever entering the store. These helps keep the client satisfied and you never have to look around wondering what products they bought during their last visit.

Having shopper engagement at the point of sales is very important also. They need to be directly involved, as it makes them feel appreciated and even a sense of ecommerce-blogappreciation. The customer must feel as if the store or website appreciates their business. Not only telling them this is enough, as producing effective loyalty systems during the point of sales contact helps promote your store, reward the client when they are shopping with you and even want to purchase more products from the store. The point of sales system can work through a credit card like service, or it can simply work through a clients log in information, such as an email account or phone number. This way, whenever the client logs in they receive points for their purchase, and eventually these points add up to discounts, free prizes or other gifts you wish to present with them. Having the ability to obtain new rewards and products makes it more likely for the client to return to the store and purchase even more goods and services from you. It is all about bringing the client back, whether it is through the in person store or via e-commerce. This way, they can buy from you in multiple ways, no matter the time of day.

This integrated system works throughout a multi-channel retail system, so no matter what store or department the client purchases products from, it is all connected to a single system. This way, if the client buys a product in a different store, they are still able to return to your current store, without a loss of profits or merchandise to your store. On top of this, it makes it easier to track rewards points, thanks to the e-commerce system. With the integration of this system, it is far easier for the entire company to work well together.

What can Retail Integrated Ecommerce do for your SME’s

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These days, the whole world is online and e-commerce is changing the way that SMEs do business. Making use of efficient and effective retail integrated e-commerce models, you can significantly grow your business into something more successful than you could have ever imagined. Here we will take a look at just four of the many ways that integrating e-commerce into your retail enterprise can be to your benefit.

Benefits of Retail Integrated E-Commerce

1. Attract New Business

Gone are the days when small businesses had to hope for passerby’s to notice their boutique or rely upon word of mouth in order to make sales. In the online world, it has never been easier to attract consumers through successful keyword optimization strategies. Because every single one of your products, categories, departments, etc. can have their own customized search engine meta tags (ie: titles, keywords, descriptions), your business is far more likely to show up in your potential customer’s search results and capture their attention. With integrated e-commerce programs you can also monitor which key words seem to be drawing in the most clientele so that you can maximize the usage of those tags.

2. Keep Customers Coming Back

Once you have attracted customers to your page, it is important that you keep them browsing through your products and returning for more. The beauty of retail integrated e-commerce is that it simplifies the process of keeping consumer’s attention. By utilizing features and coding that suggest related or alternate products, product upgrades or add-ons, verbiage like “Customers who bought A also bought B”, customer ratings, ads for coupons and special offers, etc. are all great ways to keep consumers browsing through your online store. It’s also a smart idea to allow customers to obtain “e-coupons” that can be utilized within your actual retail location via their smart phone or tablet.

3. Operate in “Real Time”iVend eCommerce Banner

In this fast-paced society, your consumers expect quick transactions and real time operation. By integrating e-commerce models into your retail business you can instantly make updates to your product inventory, descriptions, availability, and prices. Not only is this ideal for making online sales, but it also plays a huge role in your ability to make on-site sales at your physical retail location. 73 percent of consumers have admitted to utilizing their smart phones or tablets while shopping and 47 percent of these use them to more closely investigate a product prior to purchase. More surprising is that 93 percent of those people who utilize apps in store will make a purchase on-site, the same day. These figures make it clear that quick and accurate product updates and descriptions are critical to making sales.

4. Understand Your Customers

One of the greatest attributes of retail integrated e-commerce is that it enables you to continuously get to know your customers better. Each time your consumers log into your website, you will get a better picture of what it is that they are interested in and how to better meet their needs. By “remembering” previously viewed or purchased products, your online system can present buyers with customized suggestions and offers that will yield a higher response rate – leaving both your business and your customers satisfied. Online purchases and in-store purchases can also be integrated through web based customer loyalty programs that will enable your buyers to accumulate points that lead to further savings by making purchases either on the internet or at your physical location. By being able to access their loyalty points through mobile apps, your consumers will also be more likely to spend more while visiting your store.

For details on Integrated Retail solutions and how can it help your business write to us on info@citixsys.com

Benefits of eCommerce for Small & Medium Retail

Integrated retail systems are hugely important for your small business if you want to stand the test of time in this ever expanding digital world. Having an eCommerce Go Onlinesystem for your company will open up new sales avenues and can drastically increase your exposure. Not only could an eCommerce systems increase the overall performance of your business, but they could also positively aid the efficiency and and profitability of your business by making the operational processes much easier.

Integrated promotions-

Integrated Point of Service (POS) application can be a very effective tool when dealing with eCommerce. A good application will be able to customize to your own specific requirements. When sales are generated the checkout application will automatically create your receipts, remind discounts, list available promotional offers and assist user to complete a transaction.

You could also configure the system itself so that your company logo or graphics are displayed when the automatic receipts are emailed to the buyer. This can drastically increase your overall look of professionalism and could increase customer engagement.

Integrated Loyalty solutions

Loyalty redemption is an excellent way of retaining customers and getting them back to store whether online or offline for repeat business. eCommerce systems allow you to have greater control over these programs. You could have special days and discounts; for example you could set the system to allow customers to have greater discounts during the holiday period, or on their birthday.

Integrated Loyalty point redemption with an eCommerce application is great way to engage shoppers and make sure that they do not wander and continue to stay loyally tied up with your Brand.

Taking Other Avenues

Business is always competitive. In order for your small business to stay in the game and be ahead of your competition you should always be looking to utilize new avenues when it comes to; promotion, getting new customers, and re-selling to old customers. Multi-channel retailing is a great way to achieve this.

By using eCommerce you may be able to aid sales when it comes to mCommerce, mobile marketing, telephone ordering and other forms of multi-channel retailing. This is because you will be able to collect crucial details about your clients. For example you could:

  • Collect and opt-in email address to send out newsletters and offers.
  • You could ask customers for their address and phone number.
  • You could provide telephone details for people who would rather conduct business over the phone.

By using all of the multi-channel retailing methods you may be able to drastically increase the overall success of your business.

Other Benefits of eCommerce

Small businesses that are online have unlimited possibilities. Analytics is one of the most recent innovations in the retail sector. It allows you to view valuable statistics from not only customers, but visitors to your website. This means that you will be able to pinpoint flaws in your business. For example, if a large number of people are leaving on a certain website page then analytics will show you that information; or it could show you information about where your main bulk of visitors are from. This information can be very valuable and could help you to make decisions that could drastically increase the success of your company.

 

 

Electronics Vertical – Evolve to Expand

Consumer electronics globally has out performed all other industry verticals and has been resilient to the downturn of economy. Dynamism is inherently associated to this Electronics Vertical - Evolve to Expandvertical and managing a Consumer electronics Retail Store is a challenging task. More so because people visiting electronics store, walk in to Experience the Best in technology and feel its pulse.

Store formats in this vertical are variable with no limitations to size or range. One may see an e-store, mobile store, or large multilevel electronics and appliance superstores with elaborate displays and self-service Kiosks. But at all the places the one sentiment that electronics retailers share in common is that meeting customer expectations is a daunting task with a bigger challenge being efficient utilization of resources & retail space. Retailers strive hard to provide the right product mix to their customers in a constantly transitioning landscape of new product launches, models, and configuration.

It is therefore mandatory for these Retailers to strategically integrate their operations to differentiate themselves on high customer service levels while maintaining firm control of inventory at store and back office warehouse

Thousands of stores in over 45+ countries are running iVend Retail from CitiXsys Technologies and are more profitable and efficient. CitiXsys Technologies has a strong focus on Retail, Warehouse, and Inventory management offering innovative software solutions to its customers globally.

Enhancing modern retail industry experience, iVend Retail is a fully integrated, comprehensive Retail management solution to manage Head office and In-Store processes. iVend Loyalty, iVend eCommerce, iVend Mobility and  iVend Analytics are a few integrated modules making iVend the right choice for modern retailers of any size.

iVend eCommerce is an eCommerce and mCommerce solution that allows retailers to sell efficiently into multiple channels, all from one integrated system. With its seamless integration with iVend Retail, shoppers can conduct their business on the web in the same way as is done at the physical store – imparting customers a unified experience – where they have access to all products, images, virtual studios, promotions and schemes.

This application is not limited to retail and can be extensively used in industries like manufacturing, for listing their products and services on-line on the Internet

With 24X7 accessibility buyers can choose the buy products anytime, anywhere and retailers can sell their products to achieve the higher ROI. Our reporting tools are very comprehensive and allow you to see exactly what has sold where so you can make adjustments to maximize your sales and minimize your overheads.

An increasing number of leading retailers across the globe operating iVend Retail have realized significant business improvements and service differentiation. iVend Retail seamlessly integrates Head office functionality and In-Store functions efficiently into a unified organizational system with the backend ERP delivering better business results.

iVend Retail offers view of inventory across all stores enabling store managers and merchandize planners at the head office to have complete control over organizational inventory stock levels. Special orders with integrated shipping is available at all customer touch pints whether store or online. This allows better customer service right from Point of Sale by enabling product not in store stock to be drawn and shipped from the warehouse or to be delivered from another store

While buying electronics more and more consumers are using smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to make purchases, find coupons and learn where they can get the best deals. iVend Retail mobile solution helps shoppers browse e-store using their smartphones with comparative pricing features. Retailers using iVend find an effective way to leave a positive impression among customers and take advantage of this technology to Click Sales..

Retailing to e-tailing

Retailing has a long history, dating back to medieval traders and merchants. Since hundreds of years, retailers existed in defined geographies, with limited access to customer eCommerceneeds &  their shopping behavior with merchandise often limited to a single product category. All of that changed with the industrial revolution. With average incomes rising, markets emerged at a steady pace, and so did the consumer’s craving for consumer products.  This led to the rise of modern retailing with subsequent evolution of various channels of distribution, customer communication and transaction.

Modern retailing has rocketed with introduction of internet & mobility leading to wide acceptance of eCommerce & mCommerce platforms which in turn emerge as one of the fastest growing industries in world with likes of Amazon, eBay etc…  By 2020, online sales are projected to be USD500 billion or 20 percent of nonfood retail sales. For many types of retailers, the percent-to-total sales could even be higher, as eCommerce growth continues to significantly complement overall retail sales growth. Much of this will be fueled by the accelerating use of mobile platforms for shopping online.

Forward looking retailers have started integrating their brick-and-mortar stores with integrated Web stores to penetrate deeper into the market & boost their sales productivity. With Integrated eCommerce solution retailers no longer struggle to redefine the role of the store in a multichannel, millennial-led world.  They see Webstores as extended medium of their traditional store and want their customers to shop there with same ease & comfort.

With iVend Retail Management Suite retailers can successfully engage consumers wherever it makes sense in order to make it convenient for them to shop. Integrated eCommerce, Loyalty application and intelligent displays integrated with mobile devices can offer customers a satisfying multichannel experience that keeps them engaged. It is clear that all retailers need to aggressively embrace customer-shopping platforms of all types unless they find a way to create a differentiating value proposition that exploits the physical store advantages in a more compelling way.

For more details contact a CitiXsys representative in your region or mail us on info@citixsys.com

Six ways to prosper Online retail business

Getting started in setting up a fancy eCommerce store with attractive features can really not start till one gains faith of the browsers to our online portal. eCommerce businesses globally are facing a fierce issue Browse but not buy behavior from online community.eCommerce

To combat abandoned carts, what steps must a Retailer really take??

The only possible way out to this is by gaining trust, which means by gaining the confidence of visitors to your site so that they buy from your online store without any fear. The best possible way through which online retailers (especially pure online retailers – with or without inventory) can gain trust is to “HUMANIZE THE ONLINE STORE”.

Question in focus is how?

It simply refers to making your online store more interactive by providing value added features  which ensure the genuinity of transactions to online shoppers & makes them  believe that they a dealing with are a real business and/or person to automated machine or a piece of junk software.

There are a few strategies that can help you humanize your eCommerce store, which in turn would help you gain trust and build a huge & loyal customer base.

Chat Live: Adding a LIVE CHAT button on an eCommerce website is a method for telling people that their queries will be straightaway answered by the appointed customer support representatives. More often, live chats are text based & one can easily manage resources from their existing Brick & mortar channel without much of  pain

Speak Live… with your customers: Providing a facility for your online shoppers to speak to you or your associates is one of the best ways to humanize online business. Employing Toll-free numbers has been a globally accepted phenomenon to interact with your client & reaffirm that he is doing business at the right place. With Cloud telephony becoming a rage call back forms or click to call functionality too can be conveniently integrated to an eCommerce portal.

Broadcast Live: Videos of product reviews, demos, and so on from your product expert would also add value. … Videos are one of the most effective ways to communicate with the modern mobile, social shopper, it generates curiosity and has been a great medium to generate sales.

Mail Live: Another feature that can help is email forms and email ids provided on your website. It allows people to email instantly to reach you if they have any queries.

Answer Live: Online shoppers are always on the quest for product information, so they ask questions on forums, visit review sites and other authentic sources. Making your staff/product experts available at these places for answering these queries will help shoppers gain trust.

Be Social:  Integrating your online store to the social environment contributes a lot towards humanizing your store. Social media plays a monumental role in brand building; there are numerous tools to publish yourself and network with end users directly. Successful online retailers have used them to track customer preferences & choices and have succeeded in outshining others who didn’t

How To Increase Retail Profits With An Ecommerce Platform

If you currently operate a physical retail operation, there are basically only two ways to increase the profitability of your retail operation
  1. Improve the efficiency of your present physical store
  2. Add another distribution channel which could be either an additional physical store or an on-line ecommerce operation.

Theoretically, adding another physical store could approach doubling your profits, assuming that your new operation can be essentially a clone of your existing operation. You could approach doubling your profit because while all facilities and processes could be duplicated, the most essential ingredient, YOU, is limited to one. Additionally, you will be required to add at least one additional manager, further reducing the profitability gain of the new operation. And, the investment will equal your original investment in your physical store. On the plus side, you may make small gains on the basis of economy of scale; and, if logistically feasible, your inventory might be less than doubled. Also, some back room operations, accounting, payroll, billings, etc could be integrated.

But, today, with the availability of innovative retail management software, establishing an ecommerce operation to work in tandem with your physical store is a far more effective way to increase sales volume with multiple increases in profit. With implementation of an integrated retail management software, your sales volume could be triples or more using far less in resources than adding a second physical store.

What are the essential features of an integrated retail management software?

  1. It seamlessly integrates the offline and online operations. Make Promotions, items, pricing, customers, vendors etc in either systems and let the software sync all systems for you.
  2. Your inventory is maintained and serviced through a common data base. Physically, inventory is located within the offline operation with product and inventory data being readily available to the online store. In turn, the online sales orders are directed to the physical store for fulfillment.
  3. The integrated data base tracks online and offline sales for each of your customers enabling you to concentrate additional marketing and sales effort where it is likely to be most profitable.
  4. All performance data for the combined operations is presented in an integrated fashion with breakout of the two entities available on demand.
  5. You retail management software will include a loyalty system to encourage enhanced customer engagement
  6. Be able to provide product info and purchase ability through mobile devices, including providing supplementary product info in your physical store.
  7. Your retail management software system must be scalable. To run your back-end accounting processes, you may start with an SME ERP like SAP Business One as back-end for small store chains but you should be able to migrate to larger systems like SAP All-in-one (SAP Retail) without changing your retail systems.
  8. The provider of your retail management software must be provably skilled in installation and maintenance; and must be able and available to service the system on demand.

Operational advantages of adding an ecommerce channel to your existing physical store with integrated software are: .

  1. Ecommerce PlatformIt enables, YOU, the manager to more closely control the combined operation as compared to either two physical stores, or an off-line and on-line operation that are not integrated or synchronized.
  2. The ecommerce channel adds a communication channel to your link with existing offline customers. It will be easier to make additional sales to these existing customers simply because you can reach them online with additional offerings. Customers can use Loyalty points either in physical or online store.
  3. Retail management software provides opportunities to sell-up, sell-more, and sell-more-often. Planning engine can tell you what sells where and how you can increase sales via which mode.
  4. A retail management software system reduces cost of sales by increasing sales without a commensurate increase in overhead. Able to offer physical store pick-up for local customers.
  5. Your retail management software system enables you to duplicate work. A promotion can be made for physical store but should be easily be sent to online store as well.

To get additional specific information on how an integrated retail management software with Webstore will improve your profitability, read more about Ecommerce Platform for iVend or contact your local CitiXsys partner today.