Have you been a good retailer this year? Are you expecting bulging takings or a lump of coal this festive period? With Christmas fast approaching most retailers have their Christmas stock prepared, and are currently working on their promotions to maximise sales over the Christmas holiday.

But have you considered that this year, multi-channel shopping is set to reach record levels, brought about mainly by strong growth in online and mobile shopping.

The number of UK consumers with a Smartphone has jumped from 58% to 72% in the past 10 months, with 50% of owners having used their phone to check product availability and buy products. What’s more 36% of UK consumers have checked their Smartphone before making purchases.

Combine this with the shift in shoppers no longer willing to wait at home for online deliveries; click-and-collect has become the fastest growth service for retailers, resulting in what retailers are expecting to be a ‘multi-channel Christmas’.

So, what exactly is multi-channel retail? Essentially it is the merging of your sales channels that allows customers to order, buy and collect or receive products using a single or several sales channels seamlessly throughout the transaction. For example reserving online and collecting in store. To do this retailers need to have visibility of stock, sales and orders in real time across their business.

As well helping you to manage your various sales channels, a multi-channel retail system will also help improve the efficiency of your stores: With accurate data you can link multiple stores; produce useful reports when you need them most; identify the best and worst selling items and manage stock orders instantly from your till; set up loyalty schemes and manage Christmas and New Year promotions to customers; and interpret customer data and identify up selling opportunities.

Online sales are growing faster than expected, with ecommerce sales up 20% year on year. Independent retailers need to compete with pureplay ecommerce businesses and offer an online alternative. With a multi-channel retail system you can manage your ecommerce effortlessly alongside your store operation with no miss selling or inaccurate stock levels. Plus you can offer enhanced features for your customers such as click and collect, loyalty points in store or online.

Another way to keep the till bells ringing this Christmas is by introducing mobile points of sale to your store. Mobile tills are helping to improve the customer experience, with sales staff acting as a personal assistants with detailed product information, and stock lookups. They turn those browsers into buyers.

So how can independent retailers provide multi-channel retailing? With a cloud based EPoS system, you can manage your retail store(s) and ecommerce website via one seamless system. What’s more with a cloud based system you can control your store from any web enabled device; safe in the knowledge your data is backed up and secure.

The Future of Retail is Multi-Channel

Multi-channel can no longer be seen as a ‘luxury’; rather it can mean make or break for retailers during the Christmas period and beyond. With many UK retailers now using multi-channel retail systems, don’t be the one who gets a lump of coal this year. If you only ask for one gift this Christmas make it a multi-channel retail system, and let your tills jingle-all-the-way, and  look forward to a happy retail New Year.


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