Getting multi-channel retail right

With the high street on the wane, retailers must think carefully about multi-channel retail opportunities if they’re to remain competitive.

In this article, we’ll provide you with insight into how to create a successful multi-channel strategy to ensure your customer base has as many purchasing options as possible.

Using location intelligence to set up a multi-channel retail strategy

Here are some of the ways you can set up a successful multi-channel retail strategy using location intelligence:

1) Discover what customers want

The first step in establishing a workable multi-channel retail strategy is to figure out what your customers want in this increasingly complex consumer ecosystem.

Would a convenience store offer a more profitable alternative to a superstore by reducing your overheads? Or, is it worth getting rid of physical premises altogether and moving online?

Are you offering a broad enough range of online services? Or, do you need to expand your offering (e.g. like supermarket Morrisons has done in recent years by introducing floristry and other associated services)?

Location intelligence software enables you to combine traditional customer profiling data with more advanced sources (such as social media sentiment analysis) to find out what your customers truly want from each retail channel, and whether you’re currently doing enough to satisfy them.

2) Find out where customers are

Utilising the customer profiles you’ve already established, you can find out exactly where your key demographics are based.

Location intelligence software enables you to combine a host of useful datasets to make sense of where your customers are. This includes sales, census, council tax band and drive-time data, for example.

You can also learn where customers tend to be when they make purchasing decisions, or gain understanding of their regular commute. Both of these are vital for tailoring your multi-channel marketing efforts.

With this in mind, you can ensure that customers have easy access to physical retail premises and convenient delivery/click-and-collect services.

3) Establish a logistics network

To master multi-channel retail, you’ll need a sophisticated distribution network both to supply your stores, and to satisfy customer orders.

Whether a customer places an order in-store, online or over the phone, either for home delivery or click-and-collect, they will expect fast, efficient service.

When choosing store or distribution centre locations, use location intelligence software to look for those that are positioned centrally in relation to your store network/customer base and wellserved by road/rail networks.

Also, don’t forget to consider customer returns. Is there a Post Office or similar within easy reach of your target customers? If not, do you need to introduce a dedicated locker for collections, for example?

4) Use geofencing for marketing materials

Whole Foods Ltd. provided retailers with a hugely successful model for leveraging geofencing in retail.

A geofence is a digital barrier that can trigger various actions as soon as a known customer crosses it. Using geofences, you can immediately send customers bespoke offers based on their purchasing history when within a pre-defined vicinity of your store.

Whole Foods Ltd. took this one step further, relying on a technique known as ‘geo-conquesting’. This technique requires you to put geofences around competitors’ stores. When a customer enters a competitor’s vicinity, you can send them a push notification/marketing email incentivising them to choose your store instead.

Optimise your multi-channel retail strategy with Periscope® from Newgrove; sign up for a free, 10-minute demo today.