With the total global eCommerce sales projected to grow by 50% over the next three years and online shoppers making up 33% of the total world population, the digital marketplace is rapidly becoming an indispensable arena for businesses to thrive in.
In 2023, there will be 218.8 million digital buyers in the U.S. alone. By 2026, this figure is projected to reach 230.6 million, which demonstrates the importance of making online selling the forefront of your marketing strategy.
Even if you are already selling online, your current strategy may not be enough. With customers being bombarded by ads and constantly switching between different channels, you may need to up your game to stay competitive.
Did you know that eCommerce sellers who sell on three or more channels generate on average 143 percent more revenue than those who only sell on one or two channels?
In this blog post, we’re going to break down what multichannel selling (or multichannel eCommerce) is and take a look at the pros and cons of this strategy. Additionally, we will share a few tips on how a company can master multichannel selling. Keep reading!
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What Is Multichannel Selling?
Multichannel selling is a retail strategy that involves selling goods and services through multiple sales channels.
A sales channel can be anything from a physical store like Walmart and Apple to a social media platform such as Facebook and Instagram.
Take Apple, for instance, it not only sells online and through third party sellers like Amazon, it has its own physical stores
Benefits of Multichannel Selling
Multichannel commerce is not limited to big enterprises. There are many benefits of adopting this retail strategy even if you are a small business owner.
Multichannel selling increases the revenue no matter how big your business is. In fact, it is even above the average when you’re looking at only small inventory sellers.
According to Sellbrite, small inventory sellers are those with less than 706 products. For these merchants, utilizing three or more channels on average resulted in higher revenue (158.69%) compared to merchants using only 1-2 channels.
Increased Brand Awareness
By putting your products in front of a wider audience, you can also enhance your brand awareness. Additionally, it’s a good way to build trust because buyers are more inclined to buy from companies that sell on channels they already trust.
For example, if you are a new company, selling directly from your website may be difficult since consumers are worried about potential scams. However, if your products are also available on well-known marketplaces, this signals that you are reliable and trustworthy..
In fact, according to a Power Reviews survey conducted in March 2023, it was found that 50% of product searches begin on Amazon, followed by Google at 31.5%. Only 14% start their searches directly on retail or brand websites.
When it comes to new customers, each shopper has their own preferences. Some prefer purchasing directly from the source, while others may search across multiple channels to find the best price. Therefore, offering multiple ways for people to purchase from you makes perfect sense, allowing you to reach a wider range of potential customers.
Maximized Return of Investment (ROI)
Increasing the number of sales channels is a great way to get the most out of your investment. The best part is that starting an eCommerce business already involves fixed costs, so adding a new sales channel doesn’t require a lot of extra money
Furthermore, diversifying your sales channels reduces the risks associated with depending solely on one channel. It also allows you to redirect customers if you need to address or resolve a problem.
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Drawbacks of Multichannel eCommerce
It is important to note that multichannel selling is not all not all rainbows and butterflies, and there are a few factors you should consider before expanding your sales channels.
Selling on Irrelevant Channels
While you have the freedom to choose any sales channel for your products, it is important to carefully consider where your sales are likely to thrive the most. For instance, if you specialize in electronics, Amazon could be a viable option. On the other hand, if you are selling baby products, Walmart might be your best choice.
Potential Conflict Between Your Sales Channels
This can happen when one sales channel appears to offer more advantages to customers compared to another. For instance, some customers may prefer buying in-store because they can have their questions answered immediately, while others may opt for online due to the convenience of free shipping or home delivery.
To minimize such challenges, be sure to incorporate features such as an FAQ section or a chatbot that can address your customers queries.
As you expand the number of channels, it may become increasingly difficult to keep track of and maintain such things as prices, titles, descriptions, pictures, and branding.
It is crucial to establish a database for your products and implement a systematic approach to ensure that any updates or changes are accurately reflected across all channels.
Ensuring Adherence to Regulations and Standards
Each third-party marketplace comes with its unique approach and practices. This includes various aspects such as product categorization and evaluating seller performance, with specific requirements that merchants must adhere to on each platform.
It is essential to actively familiarize yourself with the regulations of the marketplace and stay updated with any sudden policy changes that may arise in order to ensure your selling privileges.
5 Tips for Multichannel Sellers
Here are a few essential tips to enhance your multichannel selling approach in 2023, allowing you to maximize the benefits of selling across multiple channels effectively.
1. Research and Focus on the Right Channels
In the world of selling channels, there will always be new and enticing options. However, it is not necessary to blindly follow every trend that emerges. Take time to conduct thorough research and concentrate on the channels that align best with your business. Consider the following:
- Your specific buyer demographic or audience.
- Products that generate the highest sales and demand.
- The average price points of your products so that they align with the expectations and purchasing power of your target audience.
- The available seller services and features offered by different channels.
- Reviews and feedback from other sellers.
- Assess the fees and commissions associated with each sales channel.
- The algorithms employed by different sales channels to rank products.
- The policies for listing and pricing items as well as the payment options of each sales channel.
2. Optimize the Content for Every Channel
Maintaining product consistency across different sales channels is essential to providing a positive shopping experience for your customers.
However, it’s also important your product listings are unique for each channel. This means you cannot copy all of your product information from your website and paste it to Amazon or another marketplace.
Having unique listings can positively impact the SEO ranking of your products. Additionally, it’s worth noting that most platforms have their own requirements when it comes to products. Meeting these requirements can not only improve visibility and discoverability but it also improves your chances of reaching a broader audience and driving more sales.
That being said, there are tools that can help you manage your product information. Here are five PIM, or product information management tools:
- Plytix. Plytix is a product information management (PIM) platform that provides businesses with a centralized solution for managing and distributing product information.
- Akeneo. Akeneo is an open-source PIM platform that enables businesses to centralize and manage their product information across various channels and marketplaces.
- inRiver. inRiver offers a robust solution that helps companies efficiently handle product data and optimize products across multiple channels.
- Salsify. Salsify is a cloud-based PIM software that assists brands and retailers in managing, synchronizing, and distributing product information across different sales channels.
- Catsy. Catsy is designed to streamline the management and distribution of product data, helping businesses maintain consistency and accuracy across various sales channels.
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3. Optimize for Mobile Buyers
By 2024, mobile commerce (mCommerce) is expected to contribute to around 42% of total eCommerce traffic. As a result, it is crucial to assess the mobile experience of your eCommerce site, ensuring a seamless navigation for mobile visitors. Overall, focus on whether it’s:
- Fast loading
- Appropriately sized for small screen images, buttons, and text
- Easy-to-navigate menu
- Mobile payment options
4. Use Automation Tools
By leveraging automation tools and technologies, you can save time and effort spent on routine activities. This allows you to focus on more the strategic and value-added aspects of your business.
Here are five tools that could help automate your multi-channel sales:
- ChannelAdvisor. ChannelAdvisor offers a comprehensive platform that automates various aspects of multichannel selling, including inventory management, order fulfillment, pricing optimization, and listing management.
- SellerCloud. SellerCloud is a powerful multichannel eCommerce platform that provides automation solutions for inventory management, order processing, shipping, and listing synchronization across multiple sales channels.
- Ecomdash. Ecomdashintegrates with various marketplaces and shopping carts to centralize inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping processes, helping sellers streamline their multichannel operations.
- Sellbrite. Sellbrite offers tools to automate inventory management, order fulfillment, and listing synchronization across multiple sales channels. It simplifies the process of managing inventory and streamlines multichannel operations.
- Zapier. Zapier allows you to connect and automate tasks between different apps and platforms. It enables seamless data transfer and integration across various systems, automating repetitive tasks and improving efficiency in multichannel selling.
5. Implement Price Parity
Marketplaces can penalize sellers if they discover that the same product is available at a lower price elsewhere on the internet. To avoid this, maintain consistent pricing across all your sales channels. This practice also ensures that you remain fair and competitive while preventing any negative consequences that could occur.
To optimize your multichannel selling, it’s important to make thoughtful decisions and avoid getting swayed by trends. Achieving success requires thorough research, consistent pricing, and the effective use of automation tools to enhance customer experience and increase sales.