Take the Bull by the Horns: Going Multichannel
Nowadays it is very common in B2C space for buyers to research online (read reviews/ ratings/ posts), try the products in store, order online after searching for the best deals and then pick the products in store or get it delivered at their homes. The availability of so many distinct channels to the consumers has provided new avenues of sales to the organizations and at the same time there is a greater urgency to provide consistent, enriched & engaging user experience to the users across the channels. This trend is coming to the B2B eCommerce in a big way, let us quickly have a look at this domain.
Step 1) First of all user researches various options, product attributes, reads through numerous ratings & reviews posted by fellow users and try to gauge the market and available options. Users can research on social sites, web or could drop in a store to evaluate the product of their interest.
Step 2) Here the user checks out (initiate the buying process) through one of the available channels. User could choose to order the product through one of the multiple channels available i.e. store, web etc.
Step 3) In this last & final step user can choose to pay through multiple channels available e.g. in store, through online checkout or COD (cash in delivery) and the product could be delivered at the user's requested address or could be picked in the store concluding the purchase.
3 Tenets of Multichannel eCommerce:
We highly recommend these three tenets which every organization should keep in mind while creating a world class multi channel experience for its audience
1) 1) Consistency: We need to provide a consistent experience across the channels, the consumer should not feel disconnected in any chosen channel. Customer view should be consistent across the channels and uniform recommendations & offers should be provided to the user irrespective of the channel accessed.
2) Ease of use: Multiple channels should work in a seamless fashion and the consumer should be able to effortlessly switch between channels at will.
3) Context: Consumers expect to be shown uniform views, offers & information across the channels. The content should be tailored to each channel e.g. a smartphone user should be presented content which is mobile friendly. Organizations cannot just feed the desktop website content for the mobile devices as well, it requires an altogether different content & experience to be created for the user and it's worth the effort
Impetus for the Introduction of multiple channel experience:
1) 1) It is observed that the existing customers which are introduced to the online channels are more inclined to make more purchases bringing in better revenues.
2) 2) Advanced analytics provides organizations to extract invaluable data (customer behavior patterns) from multiple channels which in turn enables them to find cross-sell & up-sell strategies.
3) 3) Online channels considerably decrease the customer support costs by providing self-service options.
4) 4) Some customers are only viable if we service them through online channels which provides organization a wider reach at lower costs.
5) 5) It is observed the wallet share goes up with the increased number of channels offered to a customer which is a big incentive for organizations to increase revenues in a saturated environment.
These and many more advantages are compelling the organizations in the B2B space to take up Multi channel selling. So what are you waiting for, go take the bull by the horns!
Share your gains, pains, delights & experiences of going Multi channel with us here, would love to hear from you!