Preparing your business for the multichannel market

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The world has changed a lot in a short period of time - which is not news to anyone. But the changes we've experienced have also fundamentally changed the way we do business, the competitiveness of markets, and the expectations of our buyers.

The relationship between seller and buyer is different, with timing, channels, and communications all evolving. Gone are the days where 'Sales' was simply a travelling salesman knocking on doors. Yes, this might be an outdated example, but swap it for tele-sales or cold emails and it still stands true: Single channel markets are a thing of the past.

All businesses - but particularly smaller and mid-sized ones - are under pressure to keep up and adapt their sales processes to ensure they can continue to win and keep customers. This means embracing the multichannel market (ie. using multiple channels, platforms or avenues to sell).

Not all businesses have made the switch yet - and not all are excited about the prospect. But businesses that have already invested in SAP Business One are a step ahead. You've already got the system setup required for success - now it's just time to take the leap.

Staying where you are means falling behind

The multichannel market is not a new concept or even a new way of operating. In fact, it is fast becoming the only way to operate to keep business competitive. Those who haven't shifted to a multichannel approach yet face the pressure of being in a market that's moving ahead of them.

As expectations evolve, methods that have kept customers coming in and coming back may not continue to be enough. The failure to expand market and sales channels and upgrade customer interactions can lead businesses to:

  • Miss sales opportunities: Having focus in only one area, tactic or market, ignores (or deprioritises) resales or up-sales with current or past customers.
  • Lose customers: If another business can offer service that is better, more personalised, or more easily available through multiple channels, customers are more likely to shift their business to a provider that can deliver for them in a way that suits their needs.
  • Fail to be competitive: Multichannel forces more visibility and organisations, meaning competitors will know exactly where stock is, how much they have, what is in demand and what customers want.

Your systems are the key to your success

At its foundation, multichannel sales is simple maths - expand your sales channels, expand your audience, expand your sales opportunities. Shifting to this way of operating is not always as simple. You'll need to ensure you can:

  • Maintain service levels and continue to serve customers to the standard they (and you) expect
  • Have full visibility over sales, orders, stock, etc. to be able to fill demand and make the right inventory decisions
  • Connect stock and warehouse management so orders can be filled in a correct and timely manner
  • Achieve integration between different sales channels.

Those who have already invested in SAP Business One are at a huge advantage, and will be in a great position to ensure all these needs are met. Automation and integration are key for success, and utilising your existing SAP B1 capabilities means you are in a prime position to easily adapt to a multichannel market.

The software allows businesses to address new expectations and challenges without increasing costs, manpower or workload by offering capabilities including:

Cross channel visibility: The fundamental benefit of having SAP B1 is that it connects everything to everything else. View and access all information from different channels, locations or platforms in one place for real-time visibility and reporting - plus managing the coming and going of stock.

Customer management: A well-constructed CRM allows you to record, monitor and update all information about your current and former customers (including last interaction) to improve sales opportunities, secure your existing base and avoid chances of losing repeat business.

Risk/value/cost assessment: Not all sales are sales that will benefit your business. While you might be willing to take a loss on a tight margined product to get it to your best customer when they need it, you wouldn't do the same for one off, small value sales. SAP B1 will provide you access to this information to make the right cost/value calls.

Contingency planning: When an order can't be filled immediately or there is a shortage of inventory, you will have direct access to information to help the decision-making process - how long before you can get more inventory, if it's best to go to another vendor, any additional costs - so you can react quickly and positively.

Kick off your multichannel journey

The multichannel market should be viewed as an opportunity - and the sooner businesses start to embrace the change, the sooner they can start reaping the benefits.

You already have the systems in place to ensure transition into and success in new markets. All you need is the right advice and support that will allow you to adapt to and make the most of multichannel market, remain competitive, and bring in business at a profitable level.

We've partnered with dozens of Australian small and medium businesses to maximise the utilisation and benefits of their Business One platform. We offer both technical knowledge and experience as well as deep understanding, discussing what your business actually is and what you aim to achieve.

To further discuss how to use Business One to its best potential in a multifaceted world, contact us here for a chat.

 

About the Author: Deryc Turner

Deryc Turner

Deryc Turner has a degree in Economics from Sydney University and is a Fellow of the Australian CPA's. Since 1994 he has been advising small and medium businesses on how to maximize the value of their information systems to gain an unfair advantage over their competition

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