Columbus, OH—Online retail sales hit a record-breaking $305 billion in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Commerce Department. To fully capitalize on this momentum, successful retailers need to deliver a superior experience across multiple channels. Shoppers today are armed with more information on merchants and products than ever before and have become accustomed to having more control over their entire buying process. As a result, nChannel, the leading provider of multichannel management software that simplifies selling for all retailers, today announced a comprehensive Multichannel Implementer’s Guide to help merchants get the most out of their end-point systems, better support multichannel initiatives and understand the best ways to deliver a standout customer experience.
“A multichannel approach is no longer just a nice to have, it’s a necessity for today’s B2B and B2C merchants,” said Steve Weber, president and CEO of nChannel. “We’re in a unique position as we are the foundation for effectively managing a cross-channel experience, and therefore, have worked with dozens of eCommerce, point-of sale and ERP vendors. This report aligns with our mission to simplify the process for sellers and aims to help them better understand where to make improvements and how to streamline operations.”
Based on findings from its extensive experience in the multichannel management space, nChannel compiled its top five strategies, along with standout vendors that are helping today’s merchants get retail right.
· Inventory Management: Inventory management is a critical part of the multichannel management process – specifically features that maintain real-time inventory across all channels and tools that deliver access to supplier inventory levels.
o nChannel’s Recommendation: Look at Lightspeed, an all-in-one POS System for retail stores. The cloud is an invaluable asset for inventory management, because inventory status is real-time reflection of what’s actually in the store. Moreover, store personnel can see inventory status across the chain.
· Item Listing: The key to listing items in a way that serves you and your customers well is to implement a solution that allows you to easily manage product attributes. Amazon has taught consumers the value of navigating, sorting and comparing items based on key features, so every retailer now needs to follow suit to win over today’s shopper.
o nChannel’s Recommendation:Magento is the leader in providing attribute management capabilities. While others have emerged in the marketplace, Magento is the pioneer and continues to do it very well. They allow sellers to create and reuse attributes so they can present detailed, searchable product information on their website and thus mimic the experience that Amazon provides.
· Order Management: Fulfilling and managing orders may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important that retailers implement a solution that helps them handle partial shipments of orders across multiple fulfillment locations (stores, warehouses, third parties or suppliers).
o nChannel’s Recommendation:NetSuite can split orders by line items and can make intelligent choices on where each item is fulfilled based on user-defined business rules. You can define suppliers by item and automatically create purchase orders for those items when they are sold.
· Product Returns Management: Unlike order processing, no two companies handle returns the same way…this is especially true for multichannel merchants. Many variables play a role in selecting the right returns solution – for example, which cost center is hit on the returned revenue, where inventory will be returned to and from where a replacement item will be shipped.
o nChannel’s Recommendation: While no single software package is the silver bullet for returns management, Microsoft Dynamics NAV has the strongest API, which provides retailers with the most flexibility to design a returns process based on their personal needs and use cases.
· B2B Support: For many retailers, the ability to sell to and support B2B customers is a missing link that’s hard to master – but it is also an essential component to the growth of today’s multichannel merchants.
o nChannel’s Recommendation:Bigcommerce understands the importance of B2B in eCommerce and supports it with its feature set. They can create customer groups and apply group discounts, and also support phone orders, making it easier for sales to track leads.
“nChannel has become a trusted resource for us – both in helping us manage our multichannel platform effectively, but also in its ability to provide unbiased expertise on the market, ” said Kevin Cooke, eCommerce manager at TroutsFlyFishing.com, a Colorado-based specialty shop with an expanding online and brick n’ mortar presence. “This Buyer’s Guide is a perfect example of why nChannel is a main ingredient in our recipe for how to master a quality customer experience.”
To download nChannel’s comprehensive 2015 Multichannel Implementer’s Guide, which includes more insight into top multichannel management vendors and strategies, click here.
nChannel is the leading provider of multichannel management software that simplifies selling for retailers of all sizes. nChannel provides a single, cloud-based platform that easily integrates with existing systems to help sellers improve the management of product information, streamline supply chain processes and enhance the overall shopping experience for customers. With better business intelligence and increased exposure, nChannel subscribers are improving multichannel operations resulting in new opportunities for repeat business and revenue and making them more competitive than ever before.