This post was written by Estela Gil Berlinches - CMO at She's a full stack marketer and #onlinemarketinglover.

Choosing the right solution for your multichannel strategy  in retail is pretty hard. You have to carefully evaluate your active e-commerce platform, your enterprise resources platform (ERP) and your point of sale system (POS) to make the right decision. It's hard to find the perfect way to make them work together and support your multichannel business.

Many developers don’t build their software products with multichannel marketing in mind. Some of them don’t care, others don’t have the skill, but in the end - it’s the retailer, who carries the weight of this issue. 

It doesn't have to be that way

Flexibility is a must for modern software solutions. You don’t have to accept the fact that your current software provider is unwilling to make the product that actually works for you. Choosing the right multichannel software is just a matter of knowing how to evaluate the pros and cons of any given solution. 

Evaluation criteria

These are the 3 main criteria for evaluating the multichannel potential of any given software at any point of sale :

 Lets you perform key multichannel tasks.  

 Must use modern architecture, including open APIs 

 Must be supported  by solid  partners and a user ecosystem. 

Multichannel features

Any solution you choose should serve your goals in the context of your multichannel strategy. To make it easier we explain multichannel  features in several categories, each one with specific functions that define these as 'multichannel features'.

 Costumer Experience Management features let you provide exceptional customer experience and build brand loyalty. 

 Merchandising/Product Information Management – these features let you manage your products and acquire accurate product data through multiple channels. 

 Integration with the Supply Chain – features that connect your company’s system to your suppliers, which in turn boosts your operational effectiveness. 

 Community Integration – integration/communication with your high profile buyers and sellers. 

When you’re developing your strategy, its very important to determine, which of these features are the most important for your success. 

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Modern software architecture

Its essential that all technical solutions that you employ use modern architecture, which is highly flexible and supports various integration opportunities.

What we mean by ‘modern architecture’: 

 Open API standards (REST or SOAP). 

  Supports XML and JSON. 

 Documentation is accessible and there are tool kits available for developers. 

 Solutions that don’t support standard integration options are damaging their users. This prevents users from properly realising their multichannel potential. 

Product ecosystem

A large user base usually means that the technology is effective and popular. This usually has certain benefits:

1. Online and offline support for users and communities, sponsored by the developer

2. Add-ons and extensions

3. Community-developer resources, like forums

4. A solid product ecosystem

5. Large technology producers usually have a partner community. This community usually comprises of product experts (like Magento). A community like this is a huge benefit for your business.

If you are developing a commercial technology without a strong users-partners ecosystem it’s possible that you will eventually fail without the required support from the above-mentioned community. 

Have you chosen a multichannel software before? Would you add your own tips to this list? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment below!