The 5 Biggest Challenges in Multichannel Sales

multichannel distribution
Author: Haydar Yuece // 8min

With smart solutions, multichannel sales can be optimised and profitably utilised by retailers who operate a stationary shop in addition to an online shop. It is not uncommon for multichannel retailing to bring with it strategic challenges that need to be overcome. Here, the limited time, the cost factor and the lack of staff often come into focus.

In the following, we have identified the 5 biggest challenges in multichannel sales and show which possibilities entrepreneurs have to solve them with quick and uncomplicated solutions.

Explained: What is multichannel sales?

Multichannel sales means having several sales channels for products or services offered by a company. This creates a sales mix that is integrated into the overall concept. Each channel – stationary, online and mobile – has its strengths and weaknesses, which the other can compensate for or complement. The strong interaction between them creates a stable distribution network. Customers thus have the choice to choose a channel that corresponds to their shopping preferences. On the one hand, this increases customer satisfaction and, on the other hand, ensures sustainable customer loyalty. The first impression of new customers is also clearly positive with multichannel sales, which makes the acquisition of new customers more efficient.

Stationary meets online retail: What are the advantages of multichannel sales?

multichannel sales

Market coverage

Since multichannel sales address customers on different sales channels, a significantly higher market coverage is achieved. This helps to open up new markets and to expand the target group.


Customer satisfaction

Because customers in multichannel retailing can choose for themselves which channel they want to use, satisfaction increases. In the long term, this strengthens customer loyalty as individual needs for shopping experience are met.


Target group data

Similarly, companies benefit from the comprehensive information they collect about their target group. If the data is analysed and used in a targeted manner, it is easier to identify needs, demands and desires and take measures to satisfy them even better.


Solid foundation

With multichannel sales, the entire company is economically more stable. If one channel breaks down, the other channel catches up. The worldwide Corona pandemic has shown how fundamentally important multichannel retailing really is.


Synergy effects

Each channel has specific and unique characteristics. A multichannel distribution offers the possibility to create a synergy effect. While in the stationary shop the goods can be experienced and felt live, the online shop offers a quick buying experience regardless of location and time.

An example: A customer has tried on an outfit in the shop, but was still unsure at the time. Later in the evening, he makes the decision that he wants to buy it and thus has a high emotional buying impulse. If the retailer operates a multichannel sales system, order the said clothing item directly from the online shop, even if the local shop has long since closed.

The 5 biggest challenges in multichannel sales

The more channels are offered, the greater the complexity and the demands on the distribution channels themselves. Multichannel retailing places higher demands on logistics, finance, service and control instances. The same applies to the technical requirements. If resources such as time, investment bases or staff are lacking, this can quickly become an apparently insurmountable barrier.

In the following, we show the biggest challenges and possible solutions that support multichannel sales.

1. Cross-channel service

Customers expect a consistently high quality of service, regardless of which sales channel they choose. The support must be guaranteed across all channels. If the expert advises a customer in a fashion shop, the customer should also have a similar, positive experience online. This is where proactive customer service comes to the fore.

The challenge in multichannel sales is to coordinate an efficient exchange of data between the channels. This in turn requires a uniform data basis of customer information and access to customer history.


Ensure automated services

With the integration of intelligent exit-intent popups, which are customised to the user’s needs with a personalised approach, the advisor quality is transferred from the offline to the online world without any additional effort. What the experienced salesperson does in the stationary shop is taken over in the online shop by the uptain® ALGORITHM: Similar to the stationary retail, the needs are automatically recognised and the customer is specifically supported with individual content.

Tip: Change your customer support into a proactive customer service.

2. Unified presentation of the products

Customers take advantage of the channel-hopping opportunity that results from multichannel distribution. This means that they may get inspiration online, but ultimately make the purchase in the stationary trade. It must be ensured that the product is available at all and that the customer’s expectations are met. Article description, price and appearance must be identical.

The same applies to the path from offline to online. If a customer has seen a product in the shop but wants to order online, he should be able to find the item quickly by observing uniform criteria. Otherwise, customers will probably search for the item themselves and make another selection. Whether the right product is there, however, is unclear. This, however, leads to great uncertainty and, as a consequence, to the abandonment of a purchase.


Targeted elimination of uncertainty

Uncertain customers abandon the purchase process. With abandoned cart emails, these are addressed personally before leaving the site and effectively supported with the right content. The uptain® ALGORITHM recognises when the customer needs which specific help. The intelligent tool thus solves the existing problem of shopping cart abandonments.

Learn what customised abandoned cart emails look like.

3. Product availability

A major risk factor is product availability. Articles should be available for purchase both online and offline. For this, a crosschannel merchandise management system is of great importance. Likewise, missing competence in the area of logistics often constitutes an obstacle in the development of multichannel trade. Today, products have to reach the customer or the shop quickly and cheaply.


Inform customers comprehensively

With a newsletter, online shops are able to inform customers about product stocks, novelties and offers. By keeping them informed on an ongoing basis, the risk of having a negative experience due to a lack of product availability is reduced. With newsletter popups that convince with the appropriate argument, customers sign up for the newsletter much more often.

4. Lack of resources in e-commerce multichannel

To make a multichannel sales successful, some resources are needed, which multichannel retailers, however, often lack:

  • a targeted strategy
  • the technical components to be made available
  • investments
  • enough staff for customer support


Tools without the need for additional resources

Our solutions can be embedded quickly and easily without the need for IT or design expertise. Via plugins, they are straightforwardly integrated and immediately ready for use.Because they also run automatically in the background, the multichannel tools do not require manual operation or control, which means they run independently of the staff. Thanks to the commission-based pricing model, retailers only pay for the additional revenue they actually generate.

uptain: 3 times award-winning Coversion Tool

5. Multichannel sales in channel conflict

Those who choose multichannel distribution offer the customer the opportunity to choose freely between different sales channels. He can therefore get expert advice in the shop and buy online. This can lead to a shift of business from one sales channel to another. The risk exists especially if one sales channel brings significantly more advantages than the other.


Customer appreciation on all channels

Whether offline or online, the most important thing is to give the customer the feeling of honest appreciation. With the tools from uptain, retailers have the opportunity to specifically address needs, problems and preferences. The positive effect affects all sales channels. With the solutions, both new and existing customers are picked up at exactly the right moment. True to the motto of multichannel sales: Be where your customers are.

Efficient solutions for building a multichannel distribution

When setting up a multichannel distribution, various factors have to be taken into account. The central point is, above all, cross-channel consistency. With uptain, companies have the opportunity to close the gap between online and offline and to create a consistently positive shopping experience for customers across all channels. The uptain® ALGORITHM recognises when the customer needs help, what help he needs, which type of communication he prefers and which tool should be used.

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