Multichannel logistics: How to keep everything in view at all times

Multichannel & Logistics

Elisabeth Büschler

The logistics management of a multichannel company can sometimes be difficult and labor-intensive. So that you can not only keep an eye on everything despite different stores, but also fulfill your customers' orders quickly and satisfactorily, the use of ERP software to support you is helpful. Here you can find out what it has to be able to do and what points you should pay attention to in multichannel logistics.

A modern, successful company in the retail sector must increasingly cover the eCommerce area. This not only poses new challenges for everyday work processes and management, but also for logistics.

After all, several online stores and any brick-and-mortar stores have to be supplied or orders reliably processed without errors occurring or the process taking up too much time and thus becoming inefficient.

In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about multichannel logistics: what it is, what requirements must be met, and how you can effectively manage your logistics despite multiple channels and lead your business to success. Spoiler: An eCommerce ERP is a big part of the solution. 

What is multichannel?

Multichannel translated means multi-channel. With a multichannel strategy, you don't just use one channel, but several sales and/or marketing channels simultaneously.

In concrete terms, this means that products and services can be sold not only in the store, but also in one or more online stores. 

This gives you more customers and a wider reach as your business grows and becomes more successful.

The different multichannel channels

Common are 2 different multichannel channels that support each other.

Multichannel marketing describes the use of different marketing channels to get customers to buy goods from the online store.

These marketing channels primarily depend on the target group. They can be the following, for example:

  • E-mail marketing
  • Newsletter
  • Own website
  • Google Ads
  • Social media (Instagram Ads, Facebook Ads)
  • TV advertising
  • Print Ads 

Multichannel sales is all about making your own offering available to the widest possible target group. This is done, for example, by using several online stores.

Which and how many stores you use also depends on the company and the target group. These can be:

  • Retail
  • Online stores
  • Trade portals (e.g. eBay)
  • Outlet stores
  • Sales representatives
  • Franchising systems (e.g. Media Markt, Saturn)

And this also shows why logistics in a multichannel company can sometimes become complicated.

Requirements for multichannel logistics

By offering goods via different channels, orders come in via different portals and have to be sorted and processed.

Problems that can arise in the process:

  • Slow processing when order volumes are high
  • No overview of stocks
  • Delayed order processing
  • No real-time display of inventory on the websites
  • Sale of goods that are already sold out
  • Errors in shipping, returns and exchange of goods  

The more channels you use and the more successful your business becomes, the more likely it is that the complexity of logistics will overwhelm you and your staff.

At some point, human capacity will be exhausted and your company's success will stagnate, if not decline.

This is because mistakes that happen in logistics usually have a direct impact on the customer and the waiting time for their product. This ultimately leads to dissatisfied customers and bad reviews. 

This would mean that all the work you previously put into the multichannel strategy would be for nothing.

But it doesn't have to be that way: multichannel software comes to your rescue and makes multichannel management simple and clear!

Find multichannel software: This is how it works!

When choosing, you can opt for a multichannel software or an eCommerce ERP. 

The difference here is that multichannel software purely takes care of the multichannel needs of your business, while ERP software thinks beyond that and takes your business as a whole forward in the long run.

The goal of ERP software for eCommerce is not just to make management easier, but to make your business more efficient overall.

Specifically, it's about planning, controlling and evaluating business processes and resources. Resources are:

  • Employees
  • Capital
  • Resources 

To show you what is possible with an eCommerce ERP, we will now introduce you to the ERP system from Xentral.

Xentral is suitable for startups as well as for SMEs and mid-sized companies. Just as variable are the application possibilities of the lean ERP software: You can use it as a service provider, in retail and wholesale and also especially in the eCommerce area.

The primary focus here is to relieve you of as many tasks and management processes as possible, while still maintaining a complete overview. 

The three main functions are:

  • Multichannel management
  • Automation especially for orders
  • Simple eCommerce controlling

The advantage of Xentral's ERP software is that you can also customize the functions for yourself.

You need support in the area of multichannel logistics? This is also possible with Xentral! 

In the logistics area, the focus is on keeping track of all previous and pending operations, as well as inventory and shipping:

  • You should have 100% control over your goods and be able to quickly see where something is missing.
  • Analysis and reporting tools allow you to evaluate performance in real time.
  • Complete digitization makes paper picking lists disappear and shows you everything directly on your smartphone/tablet/PC.

 Other key features include:

  • Advice on choosing the right fulfillment service provider.
  • Multi-warehouse strategy for logistics professionals
  • Flexible logistics strategy - picks you up where you are at the moment
  • Connection to multiple logistics service providers
  • Visual order traffic light for an error-free shipping process
  • Central management of multi-warehouses
  • Intelligent returns management
  • Fast, route-optimized picking of your products

Of course, the ERP software offers many more functions. Interested? Then you can find out more about the logistics function on the website!

Of course, you have to decide for yourself whether this ERP system offers the features that are important to you. It is also helpful for your selection to take a look at an ERP comparison.

Before you start looking for a suitable ERP system, you should answer the following questions in advance:

  • Are you already using multiple channels or are you just starting out with a multichannel strategy?
  • What kind of growth do you want to achieve? This will determine how scalable the tool needs to be.
  • Which stores do you want to use specifically and what challenges does this pose for logistics and shipping?
  • How many functions do you need and what are you willing to pay for them?

If you have thought about this and know what you are looking for, there is nothing standing in the way of a successful company with controlled and efficient multichannel logistics!

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about Multichannel Logistics

What does multichannel mean?

Multichannel refers to a sales strategy in which companies use various sales channels. In addition to their own online store, they can use marketplaces or traditional retail, for example. Each channel requires its own communication channels and strategies.

What does multichannel logistics mean?

The term multichannel logistics covers all logistical processes of the individual sales channels. The demands on logistics are significantly higher due to the use of multiple sales channels, so that a suitable technical solution should be implemented.

How do I implement multichannel logistics technically?

The term multichannel logistics covers all logistical processes of the individual sales channels. The demands on logistics are significantly higher due to the use of multiple sales channels, so that a suitable technical solution should be implemented.

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Elisabeth Büschler
She is passionate about innovative brands and content - which is why Xentral, with its more than 1,700 start-ups and SMEs, is the perfect place for her. Her motivation is to take the Xentral community to the next level with helpful content.