Taking Your First Steps into the World of Multi-Channel Online Retail

April 25, 2015

Taking your first steps into the world of multi-channel retail need not be a daunting task. In fact it could be as simple as listing a few items on an online marketplace like eBay or Amazon.

Online marketplaces allow retailers to explore a number of options:

  1. Distressed Inventory: Stock left sitting on your shelves takes up valuable space, prevents you from re-investing in your retail business and costs you money. eBay and Amazon provide the perfect opportunity to shift distressed inventory (end-of-line, last season, returns, etc.) and release valuable capital back into your business.
  2. Supplementary Income: Online marketplaces allow retailers to dip their toes in and out of the world of eCommerce, adjusting the flow of trade to suit their business needs. For example, a retail store in a popular tourist resort might want to increase sales outside of its peak summer sales period, but turn off online sales when the holiday crowds return. This could help your business retain staff throughout the year and maximise your profit earning potential.
  3. Click and Collect: Not all online sales need to be shipped to your customers. eBay provides the perfect opportunity to attract people to your bricks and mortar store to collect their purchases providing you with the perfect up-sell opportunity.
  4. Out-of-Hours Service: Not all of your customers will be able to visit your store during regular opening hours. Promoting an online store to your local community will enable you to reach potential customers who would normally have no other choice than to visit major online shopping brands.
  5. Clicks and Mortar: More and more businesses are blurring the lines between on and offline. Why limit yourself to just being on the high street or online when it is perfectly possible to do both?
  6. Pure Play Online Retail: If you cannot beat them, join them. Some high street retailers, particularly those who sell to more niche markets where local customers might be limited, have evolved into pure play online retailers. This means their bricks and mortar stores are little more than showrooms (often retained for the benefit of suppliers, many of which prefer to deal purely with real world retail stores).

This abridged text is taken from the book Bricks & Mortar Oughta: What Real World Businesses Can Learn from the Internet.

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