Multi Channel Sales
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The triumph of digitization can no longer be stopped. In order to be competitive at all, companies must also be present online with their products. This is where the buzzword multi-channel comes into play, which will be explained in this article.
Short and sweet
Multi-channel sales refers to the use of at least two different sales channels to sell products and services. The most common variant consists of stationary retail and an online store. This type of sales offers numerous advantages, such as opening up new sales markets, increasing customer satisfaction and generating data about customers and target groups. However, multi-channel sales also poses challenges, such as selecting the right channels, setting up a costly technical infrastructure, and ensuring cross-channel product availability and customer service. Successful examples of multi-channel sales are Tchibo and Douglas. For setting up (multi-channel) sales, Salesforce offers solutions such as the Digital Sales Process and Digital Visit Reports modules.
What is Multi-Channel Sales?
Customers select procurement channels according to personal preferences. They are "convenient" - the purchase and availability of products must function seamlessly. Today's consumers want to decide spontaneously whether to buy online or offline, whether to buy through traditional channels such as stationary stores, or whether to use digital channels and mobile applications.
If offline and online, or offline and offline sales channels are combined, this is referred to as multi-channel sales. Companies today are increasingly moving away from the idea of using just one sales channel. The focus must be broadened. Often, at least two different types of sales are combined, such as direct sales with branch sales. (Read our article on the establishment of sales structures. There you will also find an overview of the different types of sales).
Multi Channel Sales Definition
Multi-channel sales means that companies use at least two different channels to sell their products and services. The most common variant is the combination of stationary retail and an online store. The difference between this and omnichannel sales is that the merging of all channels is very pronounced in omnichannel sales, whereas in multi-channel sales the individual channels function autonomously from one another." – Salesfive
What are advantages of multi-channel sales?
Opening up new sales markets
A multi-channel strategy not only increases the reach and thus also the opportunity to address potential new customers. It also opens up new sales markets and ultimately generates more revenue. Cross-selling and upselling potential is also increased. Even in B2B sales, customers use multiple channels. This is no longer the case only in retail.
Expand customer service
If you are present on several channels and drive a multi-channel strategy, you can expand your customer service in the same breath. A specific alignment of the individual sales channels to different customer needs again leads to increased customer satisfaction. This is how you stand out from the competition.
Generate and use data
Companies benefit enormously from the comprehensive information and data they receive about their customers and target groups via the various channels. If the data is analyzed and used in a targeted manner, it is easier to identify needs, demands and desires and to take marketing measures that are even more in line with requirements.
What are challenges/disadvantages of multi-channel sales?
The more channels are offered, the greater are the complexity and the demands on the channels themselves. We would now also like to show you the most important challenges and disadvantages of multi-channel sales. All disadvantages at a glance
Planning and selection of the right channels
Of course, planning and selecting the right channels is particularly difficult. Medium-sized companies should not overreach themselves here, otherwise confusion and chaos will quickly ensue. After all, the number of touchpoints on the customer journey grows with each new channel – and these touchpoints must all be able to be managed.
Costs & technical infrastructure
The goal should be to establish a complex technical infrastructure to reliably monitor and network all channels. This is because the multi-channel business needs appropriate technical prerequisites in order to be implemented successfully. This can be associated with high additional costs. Our tip: Don't want too much right away, don't spread the sales channels too widely at the beginning, but target them specifically at your (desired) customers!
Product Availability & Customer Service
A major risk factor is product availability. Products must be available online and offline. This logistical challenge often prevents companies from establishing multi-channel sales. A cross-channel merchandise management system can counteract this. Cross-channel product availability also goes hand in hand with cross-channel service. The challenge here is to coordinate efficient data exchange between the channels in order to provide high-quality service.
Examples of successful multi-channel sales
In addition to its stores, the retail company Tchibo also operates an online store. Consumers can select the items they want online and reserve them directly for pickup at a store. The stores that have the products in stock are checked online. This saves customers from going to a store where the products are not in stock. Payment is then made on site.
The international perfumery chain Douglas offers a similar service. The product can be picked up on the same day, is available exclusively for the buyer for two days, and can even be tested before purchase, as in our example:
Our sales solutions for your multi-channel sales
Now we would like to introduce you to two more of our sales solutions that will help you create the basis for digital sales.
Our Salesforce modules we have developed especially for the manufacturing industry. We would be happy to advise you on this, but also on any other industry! You don't always have to create a completely individual Salesforce environment – use the Salesforce modules instead. The mostly standardized packages are easy to install in Salesforce and additionally offer you the possibility to customize them to your needs.
Digital sales process
The Sales template offers the possibility to handle the entire process – from internal sales to your key account managers – in a clear and holistic manner. All phases of the sales process are structured and clearly listed for all employees.
Central overview of all customer data
Standardized sales process & automated routine tasks
Basis of digitization in sales through modular platform approach
Guided process: Structured click flows and validation rules save time and guarantee documentation of all information
Overview of all data, activities and measures
Central storage of all documents: sales documents, offers, contracts, etc.
Digital Visit Reports
The module offers the possibility of simple planning, documentation and follow-up of field service appointments. With just one click, you create your visit report and can send it via email directly from Salesforce, whether on the road or on your laptop.
Fast use, cost-effective & the proven solution of your colleagues
Reduction of manual activity – speed, transparency and uninterrupted communication with your team and your customers
Collaboration instead of control thanks to central documentation
Appointment & task planning including reminder functions
Creation of the report with just one click
Standard information is already prefilled
Enter notes & summary via app
Email Template & Report Sending
All information at a glance
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