Red Zebra Business Centre - Management Memos
August 2012 Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985! Page 1
Time to think about on-line trading #4!

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ulti-channel retailing is an issue for many small business operators. This appears to be partly because internet competition is very strongly price based. In lots of ways, it seems that economies of scale favour the large on-line retailers. That is true - but it is not the whole story!

Multi Channel Retailing Brings New Opportunities

Multi-channelling means using all the available channels, including the internet, to reach out, and hold your customers close.


Buying On-line

If you are a small business person who has a sales channel, it is time to get the benefits of multi-channelling marketing. It will make your sales channel and your profit stronger!

The key thing is to have an on-line store where your customers can see your range, compare your prices, and learn to trust you. They may buy from you on-line, or, they'll probably come into your store and buy from you there.

If you are a trader, but not a retailer, your customers can visit your on-line store, without having to wait for your sales rep to visit. Then, if they need to buy but not on-line, they can call you! Now there's a first!

Not surprisingly, there is a lot of scepticism about this new-fangled 'multi-channelling". For all kinds of traders who have had a perfectly satisfactory business up to now, why all the fuss?

Of course, the key factor is that on-line retailing has taken off now in Australia and New Zealand. This means that peoples' perceptions and actions are now different from what they used to be. In 2010, 86% of all non-food retailing in Australia is said to have involved an on-line component. For most people, that means checking on-line for price or product information, before going to the shop. It also means a continuing desire to shop in-store.

So you need multiple channels - both the store and your on-line shop can generate leads -and both can service those leads too

It's now a whole year since we launched My Local Pool Shop, and the experience has been that keen operators have seen an increase in sales in-store - an increase only explained by their hits in the on-line store!

We have seen some retailers getting strong in-store enquiry - without even knowing, and hence certainly not appreciating - that these sales leads have come from customers browsing their on-line store.

Multi-channelling is certainly a new discipline to be learned -but it is the way of the future, and it is making money right now!

Top retailers will win on the net, Myer chief says

Australian retailers will take up the challenges presented by the internet and become the top shopping websites within five years, according to Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes.


He said Myer would cut back on discounts and offer customers value-for-money branded clothing at the same price as on the internet.

"This means the price of a Nautica polo or shirt will be the same price as what's available on the net," he told a lunch forum organised by the American Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Ferrier Hodgson.

He said Australian retailers had been slow to move into on-line shopping because it was more costly to deliver goods in a large country with a small population.


In the US and Britain, internet shopping was driven by magazines and catalogues, he said.

"If we produce a list in three years' time of the top 10 internet sites in Australia, it will be dominated by Myer, DJs, Kmart, Target and Just Group, the existing group of retailers," Mr Brookes said.


"That's exactly what's happened in the US and the UK."

Teresa Ooi, Business, The Weekend Australian, August 18-19 2012


Reduce Your Transaction Costs
This sounds very grand, doesn't it? Well, consider it this way.

You are operating a small business, and it's quite a problem getting time to do what has to be done to make the most of your business. you just get stated on something - and a customer comes in!

When it's busy, you are serving a customer, and there are two other people waiting -and you hope they will wait until you are free to serve them.

But what if you had an on-line store, and someone was buying on-line while you were servicing a customer?Or, what if  customer decided to check your on-line store one evening. instead of visiting the shop next day, the purchase is made on-line that night.

Extra sales, no extra time. No extra cost. You have just reduced the cost of doing your sales function for the total number of transactions you will do in a period. That is, you have reduced your 'transaction cost'!


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McNicol Williams Management & Marketing Services is a Small Business Advisor listed with the Small Business Victoria, and has presented The Red Zebra program under its auspices. This listing requires that the first hour's consultation is always free. So when we say "No charge or obligation", we mean it!

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