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e-Commerce Industry News

October 8, 2014
Where can merchants open shop to capitalize on omnichannel retailing?
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October 8, 2014
Merchants can open airport locations more easily now. Merchants can open airport locations
more easily now.
People are busy and increasingly do not have the time to devote chunks of their afternoons and evenings to shopping. Enter the omnichannel retailing experience, which gives customers the ability to shop where they want, when they want, whether it is at a physical store, online, through a mobile device or any other location.

Retailers have been capitalizing on this trend by looking at new places to peddle their wares. Modern omnichannel order fulfillment and order management solutions make it incredibly easy for sellers to take orders from a variety of different physical and digital locations. So, where are they looking at next to engage more customers?

1. Airports
As RetailingToday contributors Dominic Lowe and Anita Sabine explained that opening a store in a high-traffic airport is no longer a big problem strictly in terms of operations. While rent may be high, order management and fulfillment technologies allow retailers to offer similar shopping experiences to traveling customers. Moreover, merchants are less reliant on bulky equipment as cloud-based eCommerce platforms help them do more with less. This means they can open up shop even in small areas, or even in remote kiosks in terminals.

Of course, operating in airports does present its own set of unique challenges, particularly regarding hours of operation, but also includes other factors as well.

"While airport retail can deliver lucrative sales, prospective retailers should understand the unique factors that do not exist in street concepts," the news source added. "These challenges result in a higher cost of doing business, lengthy hiring processes, and restrictions on merchandise and delivery."

2. Digital marketplaces
Amazon and eBay have established themselves as leading marketplaces visited by millions of shoppers every month. But those are not the only ones - several other marketplaces have cropped up, each with their own unique features and target audience.

In the past, managing orders across all of these different marketplaces may have presented a daunting challenge. However, today's eCommerce solutions can make this much less of a deal by coordinating and consolidating orders from multiple channels into a single feed, which allows merchants to restock inventory, fill orders and change product pages as need be.

Now there is no excuse for not making use of these third-party marketplaces. Citing data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon customers spend an average of $968 on the site annually - that is a big chunk of change, and merchants could get in on the action by simply extending their operations to the marketplace and other similar ones.

3. Major events
In the past, the need for bulky equipment limited retailers' options when it came operations. They had to have dedicated solutions to scan out inventory, ring up orders, process payments and tackle all sorts of other retail activities. This meant they could not move easily and if they wanted sell products on location, they could only do so within specific limitations.

As previously noted, however, cloud-based solutions give merchants greater flexibility to source and fulfill orders where inventory exists. Of course, this could be warehouses and brick-and-mortar stores, but it could just as easily be the back of a van or a kiosk at some sort of event. This opens many new doors for retailers, which can now sell music CDs at concerts, supplies at business conferences or whatever they want, wherever they want.

Merchants need to keep in mind that many of the limitations that may have hindered their ability to reach customers in the past may no longer be a factor. These are only a few of the places retailers can engage prospects that may have been difficult to manage in the past.