Mastering Multichannel Strategy
Marketing used to be simple. Just think of it, a razor blade shop circa 1913 might splash out on a nice store sign to entice passers-by. They may even place an ad in a local newspaper to attract readers. Ultimately, there was only one way their razors could be bought – in the shop.
Innovation first meant phones, then radio and television. Extending the ways firms could advertise and how people could order, which usually saw customers pick up the phone with their credit cards, a mail order catalogue in hand or a shopping channel blaring on the TV.
It was rare that companies have a presence on either sales channel; rarer still that they were on multiple shopping channels or made multiple catalogues. In general, one technology equalled one sales channel. Managing this was straightforward.
But the internet’s arrival, the emergence of that great nervous system that’s ignored distance and bound the world together, has caused sales channels to balloon. Amazon and eBay, Play and Rakuten – there are more places to sell goods than ever before. And with social media – Twitter and Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat – more ways than ever to advertise them.
That makes mastering multichannel strategy hard, so this blog will give you some pointers to reduce the complexity and increase your sales in five easy points.
1. Many channels, one centre
Just as stores in the real world strive to maximise the number of their stores, enhancing product availability, so it makes sense for businesses online to list items on leading eCommerce sites like Amazon and eBay. But running these can be difficult. It means logging into separate accounts, and ensuring consistency in stock levels and prices, product pictures and descriptions. Why not consolidate this management into one system? Amazon and eBay and others have Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), ways off pulling data off and sending data to their sites, which means its accessible with third party ERP software like Khaos Control.
2. Trial and error
Looking for a formula for marketing success? A one size fits all approach that always results in sales conversions? You’ll be looking for a long time. Because there isn’t one. As the desert adventurer T.E. Lawrence once said, “Nine-tenths of tactics are certain, and taught in books: but the irrational tenth is like the kingfisher flashing across the pool, and that is the test of generals.” It’s the same for marketing as it is for war. When dealing with people, the truth can only be approximated, never known for sure. Lawrence’s stubborn, irrational 10% can’t be understood. So, it makes sense to take many stabs in the dark, to try different things. Failure is inevitable, but loss only becomes permanent if you fail to learn lessons.
3. Knowledge is power
There’s potential to amass a lot of data from all this experimentation, not to mention your day to day operations. What to do with it? First, there’s the problem of storage. Many social media sites have analytics pages, but each will inevitably differ, and there’s the issue again of logging into separate accounts to view it. Fortunately, there are solutions. One is Khaos Control’s reporting functionality, which enables reporting on successful sales by source, marketing campaign, date range, season, individual and types of products and more. With our ERP, all orders from all channels are processed centrally, so the data’s ready to be interrogated from one point. It can also be shared widely amongst your employees – more eyeballs trained on the same figures help pick out trends and spark ideas to reverse what isn’t working and build on what is. It should also be clear what you’re chasing from your metrics – set targets to be achieved by definite points. This way, success and failure become apparent.
4. Go viral
Especially in the early stages of a business, you want to be aiming to hit a critical mass where the initial energies poured into marketing are repaid and it becomes self-sustaining through word of mouth. One route are referral programs. Incentives, particularly monetary, are powerful and underappreciated. Benjamin Franklin said, “If you would persuade, appeal to interest and not to reason.” With a referral program, it is straightforward to offer customers incentives, through discounts and promotions, to get their friends to buy your products. Imagine one customer convincing another to use your site. Two people have had exposure to it. If they each convince another, four people will have had exposure to it. And if these customers do the same, eight will have. 20 such doublings are all that separates one from a million. Wondering how to get started? Marketing campaigns can be created, managed and reported on within Khaos Control.
5. Respect differences
You will likely find your social media channels have different demographics. Play to them, create personas that represent the ‘average’ Facebook or Twitter or Instagram user to assist writing copy. We looked recently at the over-50s’ spending habits, noting that amongst their age bracket Facebook use is surging set against increasing numbers younger than them turning away from it. In this light, it makes sense to drill into their tastes, making Facebook content reflect their interests. And you can go even further. Remember Khaos Control’s marketing campaign functionality? Our ERP is powerful enough to recognise demographic differences, from channel to geographical location and even customer age, so you’ll be able to target promotions.
The way we conduct business is very different to that in the past. Once, capitalism was synonymous with the corner shop and the market stall. Now both are vanishing, replaced with virtual storefronts that demand new ways of selling online. A multichannel strategy. Plunging into this world can be daunting, and needlessly complex and costly. It was our drive to see companies achieve peak efficiency that led us to create Khaos Control.
One system to consolidate your sales channels. One system to track customer interaction. One system to process order fulfilment. One system to target marketing campaigns. One system to report and analyse data from sales channels centrally. One system to allow staff access to accurate sales, inventory, and customer data. One system to rule them all!