IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 23 Apr 2012

10 Top Tips for Multichannel Retailing

MultichannelRecent research from the Cranfield School of Management led them to compile 10 top tips for multichannel retailers. After reading the points, we wanted to share these and add to them, by reminding ourselves what some of the Retail Assist team have had to say on the subject of multichannel. Below are the Cranfield points, along with some of our own from previous blogs.

1)      Always have complete stock visibility: nothing else matters without the ability to see what is in stock and where it is.

Our Chief Executive Officer of Managed Services Dan Smith outlined the dangers of incorrect sales information in today’s multichannel world, where this is utilised and fed between the retailer’s website, concessions and ‘bricks and mortar’ stores here. (Paragraph 3)

2)      Be clear on the customer proposition to ensure all processes are focused on achieving the right goals.

Our Head of Multichannel Solutions Andy Tudor touched upon the fact that a retailer’s retail proposition, product quality, support services and brand identity should be consistent across each channel here. (Paragraph 5).

3)      Integrate multichannel systems – all channels are linked via the customer, so an organisation must link them in the back-office as well.

Our Executive Chairman Alan Morris stressed the importance of having an integrated solution with a single database, utilised by a number of IT systems here. (Paragraph 2).

4)      Promote click and collect: this gains more value from customers but requires physical channel integration.

Our Head of Marketing Alex Ievins proposed that retailers could encourage click and collect sales through the use of instant chat facilities on their website here. (Paragraph 3).

5)      Manage ranges: while it is easy to fill space on a website, fulfilment of an ‘endless aisle’ can be problematic.

Our IT Business Development Manager Frances Thomas talked about how IT should support product merchandising here.  (Paragraph 3).

6)      Build partnerships across the supply chain to make processes easier to execute.

Our Chief Executive Officer of Managed Services Dan Smith gave his thoughts on choosing an outsourcing partner, and how shared services could be more consistent and cost effective here. (Paragraph 3).

7)      Prioritise forecasting and planning.

Our Chief Executive Officer of Merret Nigel Illingworth suggested selecting IT systems which support planning, budgeting and forecasting here. (Point 6).

8)      Keep similar stock together – don’t split items by channel, it distorts visibility of stock levels and lowers agility.

Our Executive Chairman Alan Morris discussed the fact that in the past, most of the goods arriving at the retail warehouse were allocated to high street shops, with a proportion held back for replenishment, but that now, sales across all channels must be fulfilled by a single stock pool here. (Paragraph 5).

9)      One order equals one delivery: make sure that an order, regardless of how many items it has, is fulfilled as one delivery. It is ultimately cheaper and better for the customer.

I expressed the opinion that the overall delivery experience I was given as a customer radically affects my overall view of a retailer and that once I find a vendor who processes deliveries well, I’m likely to order from them again here. (Point 4).

10)  Maintain price consistency – unless your goal is to drive customers to one channel or another, prices should be kept consistent.

Our Head of Multichannel Solutions Andy Tudor insisted that potential delivery costs via online and catalogue channels need to be taken into consideration when considering price consistency here.  (Paragraph 5).

Do you agree with the above tips, or do you have some of your own? Please post your comments below, or email

2 Responses

  1. jyoti sharma says:

    You can understand why multi-channel retailing has become the latest bandwagon to jump on. Both traditional retailers and catalogue suppliers are increasingly moving online and combining marketing and fulfilment through all channels. This presents new challenges and there are some major traps for the unwary. Apart from the obvious point that selling on the web requires some different skills, it’s crucial to replicate brand values and a proper level of service. Problems in one channel will equally damage the other.

  2. jyoti sharma says:

    A multichannel selling strategy is useful because each multichannel network has individual sales pros and cons that can affect your success overall success, revenue, and profits.

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