5 Things Multichannel Retailers Can Do to Improve Sales in 2016

I sat down with one of Wiser’s leading Pricing Strategists, Nick Dzienny, to find out a bit about what multichannel retailers can do to improve sales based on his experience in the industry. Here are the top issues he addressed:

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1. Harness Data

“The age of the digital consumer has led to a massive data explosion, leaving a sizable opportunity for retailers. The key to making sound decisions based on this data, however, will require accurate information to begin with. While having a well-cataloged database of product information (like UPCs, model numbers, part numbers, etc.) will greatly impact your repricing experience, making sure you’re collecting accurate and organized consumer data will have a similar impact on how you interface and implement the wide range of analytics tools available to retailers today.”

The solution to big bad data is investing in cleaning it up. Every interaction with a customer leaves a trail of data that, if harnessed correctly, can lead to greater insight into their preferences. When retailers know what their customers want, they can provide and capitalize on it.

2. Get Value Out of Your Data

“Once that information is available, a whole world of optimization is at your fingertips. While we could probably write a novel about this, InfoSys released a great whitepaper that covers the tip of the iceberg and is a great way to comprehend the opportunity that big data presents.”

The most tech savvy pricing and merchandising strategies all require data. Gartner predicts that the amount of data in the world will grow 800% in the next 5 years and another study suggests that data’s growth rate is about 60% per year.

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Whether a retailer uses WisePricer, an in-house solution, or any analytics tool for that matter, they will need to provide as much product information as they can to get the most out of it. Implementing price changes require a good amount of data, such as SKU, competitor pricing, and historical sales. When pricing software engines are equipped with this knowledge, they can recommend pricing that takes the constantly changing market into account.

3. Speed up Your Website

“Treat your website like your lunchtime experiences. If you have to wait too long to order and receive your food, and feel like you paid too much for the level of service you received, would you eat there again?  Probably not. Web performance and customer service are two critical challenges that all retailers face.  These two challenges should be permanent fixtures on the online retailer priority list, as there is always room for improvement.”

Website speed is a must in online retail, otherwise, it’s like keeping your door locked during business hours. The reason why this is so crucial is because it directly translates to the bottom line. Retailers that had a load time that was one second slower than usual experience a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and a 7% decrease in conversions. In order to speed up sales, all online retailers will have to speed up their websites.

4. Manage Inventory on All Channels

“Selling across multiple channels is likely taking a toll on your in-house inventory management tool. The consequences are simply too high to play with fire when it comes to inventory management on marketplaces. Do yourself a favor and invest in a tool like ChannelAdvisor or SureDone to expedite your multichannel listing, and ensuring your inventory availability.”

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Having products in stock is one of the main tenets of being a retailer. Even if you have a great site, you’ll need to keep your word and have your products in stock to gain loyal customers. Out of stock situations lead to decreased ratings, and this damages seller credibility. Luckily, inventory management solutions make sure that retailers never over promise, regardless of the number of channels they sell on.

5. Get the Most Out of Your Marketing

“When it comes to managing your PLA spending, a simple ‘Apply to All’ strategy does not work. It’s important to understand which items are in high demand to adequately apply the proper spend (and price!) to those items. For the more niche items in your catalog, cut the ad spend by trying more targeted marketing efforts to move those items off your shelves.”

Marketing for eCommerce is a horse of a different color. Product Listings Ads are transitioning to Google Shopping Campaigns this spring, which is actually a good thing for retailers (learn more about this transition in our infographic here). It gives retailers the ability to focus on specific products to get the most bang out of each buck. Not all products are created equally, and retailers’ marketing strategies must take that into account. It makes most sense devote more ad spend to items that are most profitable.

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A strong multichannel retail strategy is necessary in 2016 because consumers are shopping on all screens and in all venues. Directing them to your store and giving them the ability to easily checkout on any screen will be a must in order to boost sales. It’s especially important this year, and will only get bigger as time goes on. To underscore this, Google just announced that mobile-friendly websites will get a boost in its ranking algorithm starting later this year (read more about this from our friends at Bigcommerce).

The time to optimize your multichannel retail strategy is now, so what are you waiting for?

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Angelica Valentine

Angelica Valentine is the Marketing Manager at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions, and a contributor to VentureBeat, Business Insider, The Future Customer Engagement and Commerce, and more. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University.

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