What is Multichannel Retailing? 


Written By: eyos Marketing | Last Updated: December 2022

With so many options for customers to purchase from, businesses need to be able to stand out in the crowd. 

Businesses need to diversify their sales channels or combine them, to accommodate all types of customers. With customers moving from store to online, or store to social media, businesses also need to ensure they’re keeping up with all types of selling platforms.

According to an Invespro study, 95% of marketers know how important multichannel marketing is for targeting. However, only 73% say they have a multichannel retail strategy in place 

With so many platforms to choose from, businesses need to stay one step ahead and greet customers wherever they are. 

What is multichannel retailing?

Multichannel retailing is a strategy that offers customers multiple channels to purchase products or services from businesses.

It is often mistaken for omnichannel retailing, and although the two are similar in qualities, they offer very different retail models. 

With multichannel retailing, the most common types of channels include: 

  • Physical stores
  • Online stores
  • Ecommerce platforms – e.g., Shopify
  • Marketplaces – e.g., Amazon
  • Social media platforms – e.g., Instagram
  • Mobile apps 

Multichannel retailing example

Customers often do their research through one channel, and then buy through another. For example, a customer wants to buy a new iPhone. They do their research on the Apple website, and then locate the nearest retail store to purchase it from there. 

This allows a business such as Apple to grow its sales margin exponentially. 

Multichannel vs omnichannel retailing

Although the two retail models are similar, they possess very different qualities. 

Multi-channel involves a business using as many channels as possible but managing these separately. Essentially, multichannel strategies are developed to help retailers sell as much as possible, rapidly increasing their sales margin.

Omnichannel is based on a more customer-centric point of view. It gives businesses a centralised way of viewing, accessing and managing customer data from existing channels. 

This means customers can seamlessly go from one channel to the other, with a little difference in their experience. 

Why is multichannel retail important for customer experience?

Multichannel retailing can improve upon the most basic of business strategies, offering a range of benefits.

Increased revenue 

Multichannel retailing allows businesses to offer a range of channels to customers, covering all bases. By spreading the business across a range of platforms, it improves the chances of seeing a prospective customer pop up.

Also, spreading across channels improves brand awareness, allowing customers to do their research on businesses and eventually buy from them.

More channels to purchase from

Using only one channel to attract customers may seem underwhelming, and its unlikely business will attract anyone other than someone who’s already made a purchase. 

However, with more channels to use, businesses can attract prospective new customers as the brand seems more trustworthy. Offering multiple channels for purchases allows customers to choose the one that’s most convenient for them. 

Important data from purchases 

Multichannel retailing allows businesses to collect valuable data across each channel, on each buying journey. This data can show which channels some customers prefer, and help businesses improve parts of the journey customers don’t prefer. 

With multiple channels, businesses can compare and see which one is succeeding and why. This gives helpful insights on how to improve and why some channels might be struggling.

Alternatively, businesses can use offline conversion tracking, whereby marketers can now get a much better understanding of what brought customers to their business, and how they have interacted with the company prior to making a purchase. 

How to build a multichannel retail strategy  

To ensure businesses implement a successful multichannel retail strategy, they need to follow a few steps first.

1) Identify the customer

Before a multichannel strategy can be implemented, businesses need to assess who their target personas are. 

They need to understand what their customers want, analysing this using a range of data and behaviour patterns.

2) Select the right channels

Once customers have been identified, data can be used to see when they are most active on each channel. 

Promoting at these times on the specific channels customers are on will not only help businesses increase their revenue, but it will enable them to understand their future prospective customers too.

3) Use consistent promotions 

Although there is a range of channels being used, the messaging needs to stay consistent. This way, customers can decipher between businesses, especially if one has a certain catchphrase or way of describing their products. 

Alongside the messaging, the tone and style also need to be consistent across all channels. Customers don’t want to be confused when they see promotions, as this can discourage them from buying from a particular business. 

4) Use retargeting 

If a customer doesn’t make a purchase on a business’ website and leaves, they can still be reached through the method of retargeting.

This involves using adverts to users who have left the website. These adverts can be displayed anywhere on the web, and prove to be effective when a user is on social media. 

These ads can be of the exact product a user was looking at, allowing them to simply click through and finish their purchase. 

Get advice on multichannel retailing today

Unlock the power of in-store data with eyos. Our software allows businesses all over the world to offer multichannel retailing using digital receipts. 

Use multiple platforms of your choice with digital receipts, with huge amounts of valuable data at your fingertips – ready and waiting to be put to great use in your next marketing campaign. 

If you’d like to find out more about digital receipts and how they work, get in touch with our team. 

Additional Reading

How to Build Customer Loyalty Online With Digital Receipts

How to Convert Offline Customers to Online With Digital Receipts

How Digital Receipts Improve the Customer Retail Experience