In order to grow, a retailer must employ three strategies - reach more customers, win more customers and then satisfy, retain customers and obtain repeat business from them.
These strategies must be facilitated and enabled by a capability to scale their operation with financial resources, human resources, infrastructure and business process automation.
Business process automation requires software specifically designed to automate the many activities associated with acquiring, selling to and supporting customers. ChannelGrabber are leaders in providing software that uniquely automates key retail business processes while simultaneously extending retail reach, fuelling customer acquisition and ensuring happier and more loyal customers.
After employing ChannelGrabber to reach and win more customers, you must then satisfy them. Satisfied customers are more likely to buy from you again and recommend you to others. This almost goes without saying except for the fact that how your customers rate their buying experience is now more important than ever. The internet provides customers with the means of accessing independent product and supplier reviews with just a couple of clicks or find them embedded in the the very ad or listing they’re viewing. There are a plethora of online rating and review sites from Google to social media to TrustPilot and online marketplaces actively use customer feedback on sellers and products to inform buyers, influence their choices and compel sellers to deliver a quality product with a quality service. Satisfying your customers, urging positive reviews from them and avoiding or discouraging poor ones has to be second nature to any retailer. Customer retention and repeat purchases come from sustained customer satisfaction and require ongoing customer nurturing and advocacy.
Channels to Market
A retailer must make their products available to their customers in the sales channels through which they wish to buy them. This requires the retailer to list and manage stock, orders, billing, shipping and messaging across multiple online selling platforms.
In order to maximise reach online, a retailer must optimise product content for each sales channel in order to capitalise on the data structures, available descriptive fields and the means of representing their product pictorially and with video. This ensures their products can be easily found and that customers are empowered to make a buying decision in their favour.
Stock must be managed holistically across each of the sales channels to expose all of a retailer's stock everywhere at once, while managing stock depletion automatically across all sales channels in real time to avoid oversells. Orders must be processed as quickly and as efficiently as if the products were listed in only one store. Multi-channel selling is complex and difficult to manage but the solution is to employ software that is aware of the optimal product content format for each channel, lists accurately and rapidly, and manages stock and orders holistically and in one place - ChannelGrabber does all this and more.
Deliver on your Commitments
Aside from ensuring that products are of high quality and match the descriptions, a retailer must ensure that commitments made in the webstore and in their marketplace listings and advertisements are consistently delivered upon. Most notable of these are commitments concerning availability, order processing, dispatch, shipping and immediate post-sale support service.
Stock and availability information displayed in listings and ads needs to be entirely accurate, calling for real-time updates across all sales channels. If the ad says “1 item left” and the customer clicks “Buy Now” that item must exist and be available to ship right away, every time in order to satisfy and retain customers.
Once an order is placed, the customer needs to be billed immediately and the item dispatched by the agreed delivery method in accordance with your published service level. If eBay says you’ll ship within 2 days, you must do so – every single time.
Timely communication about critical events at this stage is very important. You simply cannot communicate enough. There is nothing more reassuring for a customer than receiving timely messages notifying them of a positive change of order status. Multi-channel order management is tricky, with multiple systems, multiple processes, duplicated effort and wasted time alongside the need to update order status as it changes on each product and each channel. Automation and bulk order processing are essential and to ensure the seamless flow of communication, tight integration between order management systems, webstore platforms and marketplaces is essential.
Just as high standards in speed and efficiency have become expected by consumers, clear, consistent, frequent and timely communication triggered by key events in the sales, order management, dispatch and shipping processes are no longer optional for successful retailers.
Most marketplaces tightly control communication between retailer and customer so that it is confined to their platform. But ChannelGrabber offers integrated, bi-directional messaging functionality including consolidated mailboxes and the ability to link messages to products, customers and users, plus more efficient management of messages using folders and subfolders. Using such technology allows the retailer to manage communications more rapidly, efficiently and proactively to ensure a higher quality of customer service.
Post Sales Service & Support
The majority of customers will be entirely happy or neutral with their purchase and with the service they received, so most retailers are happy to “let sleeping dogs lie” and only deal with complaints and customer dissatisfaction reactively. But while some customers will be happy and some unhappy with their experience, the majority typically fall into the greater proportion of the bell curve. While most of these remain stubbornly silent after receiving their merchandise, many will be detractors and few might even go out of their way to purchase from you again.
eCommerce provides retailers with a unique opportunity of the means to and purpose for, following up a purchase with communications to solicit feedback (good and bad), prevent unfavourable reviews and encourage favourable seller ratings. As discussed above, software solutions with integrated communication tools make this easy so that it becomes a convenient and logical extension of the sale process. And, needless to say, highly rated sellers are significantly more likely to solicit repeat business and attract new customers seeking an outstanding purchasing experience.
We’ve talked a lot about speed, efficiency and proactivity as being crucial to building great and sustainable relationships with online customers. These factors are systemic and a retailer’s performance in these areas can be significantly enhanced through the use of automation. But there is a cultural component that cannot be solved with software. Retailers who score well in customer satisfaction, retention and repeat business are culturally predisposed to “solve for the customer” as we say in the software industry.
Being conscious in every department of your business of what constitutes a successful outcome for your customer and contributing to that aim is critical. Nowhere and at no time is this cultural “response” so noticeable to a customer as when they experience a problem. How a retailer reacts to resolve it can and will determine not only the customer’s behaviour but also their future buying decisions. Through the power of social media and online rating tools, the buying decisions of many, many more potential customers can also be affected. With the help of Google, poor customer experiences can last a lifetime so use every means possible – technology included - to ensure that unhappy customers are handled courteously, respectfully and sympathetically.
Soliciting Repeat Business
When taking an order from a new customer via your webstore, it is easy enough for retailers to capture contact information – email address and telephone number - and confirm the customer’s willingness to receive promotional communications.
Marketplaces tightly control customer communication on their platforms and prevent direct communication by obscuring customer contact information. This makes it difficult to solicit repeat business from customers sourced beyond your own website. ChannelGrabber facilitates bi-directional communications directly via marketplaces and indirectly by harvesting email addresses from eBay and making these available for export to a retailer’s CRM, email marketing or marketing automation systems. This ensures that marketplace customers are as easy to market to as any other.
ChannelGrabber helps retailers to retain more customers by providing a single, fully-integrated system with one user interface, and one location from which you can manage every aspect of your online business.
ChannelGrabber is the most powerful multichannel retail software solution available. In addition to helping retailers retain more customers, ChannelGrabber uniquely helps them reach and win more customers. You're just minutes away from reaping the benefits!