Multichannel: one big word that is currently widely discussed. But what does multichannel actually mean and how can it be simplified for a retailer?
Time is money – this is well known, but even more crucial when expanding the portfolio, tackling new markets, or adding new channels for selling products. To implement everything – and to do so in a well-structured manner – time management is crucial. Therefore, the first motto is: Time management is self-management!
That’s easier said than done, but it’s the core of everything. When you get right down to it, it’s less about managing time and more about how retailers face the tasks at hand and how they are organized. As soon as tasks or new projects start with new platforms, many questions and obstacles arise. If a good structure and overview exists, more channels can be considered. However, if chaos exists, a new channel with new tasks will only create more chaos and less overview.
Could there be more problems and more work required with more platforms?
The biggest challenges in implementing and building a multichannel concept are first and foremost process-related. All the processes and activities that are involved in a single online store (or sales on just one marketplace) have to be completed and considered twice or more when selling on multiple channels in parallel:
In addition, when several sales channels are operated simultaneously, the focus and efforts in terms of marketing, design, maintenance, etc. are not distributed to just one, but directly to several platforms, which often affects the quality of the individual channels. Each channel is specific and retailers cannot address their customers in the same way everywhere, even though (unfortunately) many retailers still do this today.
This results in more sales and a wider reach
On the other hand, there is the clear advantage that more channels also mean more customers and consequently more sales. Although large marketplaces charge high commissions, the bottom line – assuming a correspondingly sustainable margin – is that more profit remains. Merchants simply reach many more customers.
But increasing reach is not the only advantage of multichannel or marketplace sales. When combined with a company’s own online store, marketplaces and the placement of products on them represent a marketing opportunity that should not be underestimated, especially for young and unknown companies: appropriate branding (especially on platforms like eBay, which offer a great deal of scope for design) draws the buyer’s interest away from the actual product and onto the retailer behind it.
We want more!
Even though there are many more pros or cons for and against multichannel commerce, in the end most of them can be reduced to one simple statement: “More channels, more of everything!”
So more effort and probably more problems, but also more customers and more sales. Do I even want that? Leave my comfort zone? Or what does the right decision look like? And is there even such a thing as a generalized answer?
Online retail is a very competitive environment characterized by a “the winner takes it all” mentality. Growth is imperative to stay in the market. There are currently so many providers that retailers can easily go under if they are not represented several times.
For this reason, no online retailer today (with the exception of pure FBA freaks) can afford to actually serve only one channel: Even one of Germany’s largest online stores, Zalando, now sells through Amazon. The solution must therefore be to keep the effort and problems associated with multichannel as low and insignificant as possible.
Order processing, enterprise resource planning, automation
This is exactly where Billbee comes in. “With our software (web application as software-as-a-service), we want to help small and young retailers in particular to address precisely these problems, the efficient solution of which was often reserved for large companies,” says Renée Kreijkes, Marketing Lead at Billbee.
The primary goal is to minimize or eliminate duplicate tasks as much as possible and enable them to be handled from a single platform. This includes invoicing, customer communication, shipping and further processing in additional systems, such as accounting. If a large proportion of these tasks can be automated, inventories synchronized and the parallel placement of new products in several channels simplified, a large part of the additional work mentioned above is already a thing of the past.
Users can save additional time by linking Billbee with GetMyInvoices. In this way, documents created in Billbee can be imported directly into GetMyInvoices and organized together with documents from any other source and/or automatically transferred further.
Billbee offers a comprehensive but easy-to-use order processing, inventory management and automation solution for sellers who sell products through one or more (online) channels. All relevant processes in the retail environment, from customer communication to shipping and after-sales, can be mapped by Billbee or directly connected and integrated partners. In terms of both complexity and price, Billbee is also attractive for smaller companies. Billbee was founded in January 2015 by managing director Jan Krause as a limited liability company.
Curious? In the 30-day, free and non-binding test phase ,you can put Billbee through its paces – and then decide!
See the benefits of automated invoice management:
Better overview. Less accounting work. More time for your ideas.