Optimising multi-channel communication for retailers


The effectiveness of the omni-channel communications approach is dependent on how well retailers know to attract and connect with these highly desirable consumers.

The effectiveness of the omni-channel communications approach is dependent on how well retailers know to attract and connect with these highly desirable consumers.

The retail landscape in Asia- Pacic today is fast-growing, vibrant and competitive.

In fact, the region’s retail sales is set to grow by 8.5%, and by 2018, it is estimated that Asian retail sales will amount to US$10 trillion, driven largely by India and China. is means that connecting customers and partners via the right channel at the right time has become more important than ever and can give retail companies the competitive edge.

However, many companies today still send information using only one communication channel instead of multi-channel online messaging platforms. is requires large amounts of administrative effort as the manual management of distribution lists, diverging communication channels in the database, management of return messages and a lack of multi-channel reporting options all demand a lot from users.

Oliver Prevrhal, managing director of Retarus Asia, urges retailers to optimise multi-channel communication platforms.

Oliver Prevrhal, managing director of
Retarus Asia, urges retailers to optimise
multi-channel communication platforms.

On the other hand, security and  technical aspects should also be taken into consideration. Retailers need to consider where the data is sent and which data privacy regulations it is subject to. They are also faced with the challenges of ensuring high denition presentation of graphics in fax documents, the readability of emails on smart phones and the size limitation of 160 characters for SMS messages.

Ultimately, retailers understand that the use of a single communication channel could lead to a fall in efficiency, which is why retailers are slowly but surely getting on board the multi-channel bandwagon, in order to be able to keep up with the rise of click-and- collect stores, pop-up shops and several retail touchpoints. The digitalisation and the proliferation of mobile devices also mean that retailers have become highly reliant on fast and efficient communications with their stores.

With these emerging market trends, retailers are increasingly leveraging the signicance of an omni channel approach and knowledge how paramount it is to gain a single customer view. Using a multi-channel approach, retailers can now reap benefits in terms of revenue, as well as connect with their customers on multiple touch points.

Leveraging SMS, emails and fax behind the scenes

Beyond the use of social media, traditional communication channels such as SMS, emails and even fax, are still widely used by retailers  for greater security and efficiency. Retailers still use these channels to send product news, carry out promotional campaigns and product recall activities, invite participants to product training courses, and even simplify order processes for customers.

A fax machine can easily operate in retail stores without IT sat or substantial maintenance sorts. Incoming faxes arrive directly on sales oors, providing much needed convenience. Fax communications are also used by retailers to keep stores updated with price changes, short-term discounts and new product arrivals.

When it comes to time-sensitive messages, such as product recalls for Mars chocolate and Manuka Honey in Singapore, many retailers still consider SMS the best way to communicate without much delay, as messages on mobile phones are read much more quickly than fax.

However, despite the proliferation of mobile applications such as WhatsApp or mobile optimised sites, many retailers appreciate the reliability of sending customers a good old SMS as it is not reliant on customers being able to receive mobile data.

Optimising omni-channel communications with messaging platforms

The effectiveness of this approach is dependent on how well retailers know to attract and connect with these  highly desirable consumers. To best optimise communication processes, retailers can consider adopting messaging services. With innovative cloud messaging platforms they are able to send out emails, faxes and SMS messages with a few clicks of the mouse and can reach their recipients exactly how they want to be reached — online, on their fax machines or on their mobile phones.

For example, messaging platforms allow fax documents to be additionally furnished with recipient specific barcodes. Order forms that have been completed and returned can thus be automatically assigned to a specific store or branch office. Furthermore, the platform automatically generates a detailed report as soon as the transmission is completed.

In order to select the right messaging platform, retailers must consider the following:

  • They should  have contractual assurance to their customers regarding where and according to which regulations their data is processed.
  • Upload of existing distribution lists should be easy and effortless.
  • From one distribution list, several channels should be served simultaneously, depending on which means of transmission is favoured. By adopting a messaging platform that is adequate for their needs, retailers can reach their target groups quickly and efficiently, and also benefit from the highest levels of transparency.