The statistics don’t lie: eCommerce is the unquestioned future of retail sales. By 2040, 95% of total sales are projected to be online and these developments are clearly visible by now. Powerhouses like Amazon and eBay are exponentially increasing their sales volume, but they are not the only ones growing.
A report by BigCommerce shows that customers actually shop across a wide range of channels. In the past 6 months, 78% of the respondents shopped on Amazon, 65% in a physical store, 45% on an online store, 34% on eBay, 11% on Facebook, 6% Instagram and 4% on Snapchat. Although Amazon is the major player, the remaining sales channels should not be neglected.
Given that there are so many opportunities in eCommerce environments one would expect that retailers are able to direct their efforts towards capturing this multichannel demand. However, this is not the case. While 73% of retailers consider it important to sell through multiple channels, only 38% of them are at the beginning of creating this experience for their customers. This unmet demand is a major opportunity for online sellers.
What is Multichannel Selling?
Multichannel selling refers to the practice of selling products across multiple sales channels, such as online marketplaces, social media platforms, and brick-and-mortar stores. Instead of relying on a single channel to reach customers, multichannel selling allows sellers to diversify their sales channels and reach a wider audience.
For example, a seller might sell their products on Amazon, eBay, and their own e-commerce website, as well as on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. By selling on multiple channels, sellers can take advantage of the strengths of each platform and reach customers where they are already shopping.
Multichannel selling can offer several benefits to sellers, including increased sales, greater brand visibility, and improved customer engagement. However, it can also be challenging to manage multiple sales channels, especially if each platform has different requirements and rules for sellers. As a result, it’s important for sellers to have a solid multichannel selling strategy in place and to use tools and software that can help them manage their sales across multiple channels.
Challenges of Multichannel Selling
While multichannel selling can offer many benefits to sellers, it can also come with several challenges. Here are a few of the key challenges of multichannel selling:
One of the biggest challenges of multichannel selling is managing inventory across multiple sales channels. It can be difficult to keep track of inventory levels, especially if each platform has different requirements for product listings and availability.
Maintaining consistent branding and messaging across multiple sales channels can be a challenge, especially if each platform has different rules for product listings and descriptions. Ensuring that your branding and messaging is consistent can help build trust with customers and improve your overall brand image.
Shipping and Fulfillment
Managing shipping and fulfillment across multiple sales channels can be a logistical challenge, especially if each platform has different requirements for shipping rates, delivery times, and tracking information.
Providing consistent and high-quality customer service across multiple sales channels can be challenging, especially if each platform has different rules and requirements for customer interactions.
Managing costs across multiple sales channels can be a challenge, especially if each platform has different fees and costs associated with selling. It’s important to have a solid understanding of the costs associated with each platform and to develop a pricing strategy that takes these costs into account.
By understanding these challenges and developing a solid multichannel selling strategy, sellers can take advantage of the benefits of selling across multiple channels while minimizing the challenges and risks associated with this approach.
Why Multichannel Selling Strategy?
Multichannel seems to be a big thing, but what exactly are the reasons for this? Let’s take a closer look at the most important advantages of multichannel sales strategies.
1. Increased Exposure
Multichannel selling will increase sellers’ exposure and customer reach by offering products on different channels. As the customer base grows, this will translate into increased sales and ultimately revenue. The Stitch Data Report highlights that sellers make 190% higher revenue when selling on more than one channel!
At the same time, sellers expanded their brand awareness through increased exposure to different sales channels. This is an excellent opportunity to promote your brand and engage loyal customers.
2. Diversify Risk
Sellers also diversify risk because they are less dependent on one sales channel only. If your sales slow down on one channel, there is still another alternative that will carry you through a temporary crisis. Let us say, for example, that the demand for beach volleyballs on Amazon US decreases significantly overnight. If you simultaneously sell the beach volleyballs on other marketplaces like eBay US, the chances are lower that you will end up with overstock.
3. Low Barriers to Entry in eCommerce
The barriers to entry are lower in online sales environments because there are no extensive up-front investment costs associated with creating an online store or selling on marketplaces. However, opening a brick-and-mortar store is a cost-intensive investment and takes time. Therefore, the barriers to entry are lower in eCommerce and sellers can quickly set-up a running business without high capital expenditures.
Multichannel Selling, the RIGHT way
Today, most sellers are unable to reap the full benefit basket from multichannel sales in eCommerce. Actually, they are still struggling to establish a multichannel presence in the first place. However, this will change in the near future and here are the difference-making factors that sellers should take into account, as they expand their online business.
1. Customers Above All
New management practices increasingly focus on customers. Amazon has shown that these management practices work and many businesses are now switching from a product-centric approach to a customer-centric approach. Gartner confirms this and has envisioned that by 2020 89% of companies expect to compete on customer experience.
If you have not thought about it before, now is the time. It is critical to put the customer at the center of your business. This entails perfect UI, effortless shopping cart process, free shipping, high tolerance towards returns and continuous availability (email, chat, phone, etc.). This is already a major jump for many online sellers, but there is one last component that can’t be accounted for – trivial, or superficial, customer requests. Although it might be difficult for sellers to give in, remember that the customer can write a negative review that can shut down your online business overnight. Having outstanding customer service is a top priority!
2. Take Multichannel to Omnichannel
Considering the pure definition of multichannel sales, it requires that sales channels operate in silos. This means that you have different warehouses, different accounting systems and separate marketing efforts for different stores and marketplaces.
However, operational silos are not desirable anymore. Instead, sellers should aim to integrate their offerings across channels to create a seamless sales experience across various touch points. No matter where the customer goes to compare prices and select the best deal, he should be able to find your product. This will reassure him that you have the best available offering and increase the chances that he will buy your listing. To create this omnichannel experience, it is vital that sellers are consistent with their listings across channels. This will create a brand reputation that attracts buyers and drives sales.
What are the differences between multichannel selling and omnichannel selling?
In multichannel marketing, the buyer’s experience can involve a number of channels: website, retail store, word-of-mouth, etc. The omnichannel experience, on the other hand, involves a seamless experience that integrates online (computer/tablet + mobile) and offline. Disney is a great example of omnichannel marketing done right.
3. Technology and Inventory Management
Selling through multiple channels and crafting an omnichannel sales experience is challenging. If you sell through four different channels, how will you approach Inventory Management, Accounting and CRM? Doing it manually by yourself is nearly impossible and Excel is not the facilitator of multichannel sales.
The best solution to this problem is to leverage technology and BI to help you scale your business. There are many different Inventory Management Softwares, Product Management Tools, Accounting Systems and CRM Systems out there that you can make use of to take your online sales business to the next stage or even beyond that. You don’t have to do everything on your own, there are solutions, but you have to start looking for them.
4. Effective Sales Channels Only
Your opportunities in multichannel sales are endless. Build your own online store, sell through one of the numerous marketplaces, social media and more. Hence, it is important that you select the sales channels that are most effective and best suited to your business needs.
The first logical check is to have a look at your product. If it is handcrafted, it would be best to establish a presence on Etsy, a marketplace specifically focused on these goods. In other situations, this will be different. The important take away is that you should closely evaluate your opportunities based on your value proposition and target customer base.
Also, take into account which channels attract customers. Over half of the online product searches start on Amazon in the US and the UK. Not having your product listed there will put you at a huge disadvantage.
These are common procedures that require minor research but to truly evaluate sales channels you need to have a look at the data. Test if your logical assumptions hold true in practice and make use of solutions like Google Analytics to track and evaluate your sales channels. Maybe your online store is not performing anymore – why keep it then? It is important to concentrate your effort on selected sales channels that work. Of course, this should be monitored over time, as market dynamics are continuously changing and evolving.
A Final Note
We have seen that multichannel sales and an omnichannel experience can substantially impact your online business and drive eCommerce success. If you are not doing so already, take the necessary steps and embrace your online presence. At the end of the day, it is important to note that multichannel sales are a journey that needs to be taken one step at a time. Start by expanding your sales channels one by one and test which are the most effective. Over time your success is guaranteed, but putting yourself out there with all your resources can go bad quickly, as you scale to fast.
Bolster your multichannel selling efforts with Algopix
Because multichannel selling requires effort and concentration,
It would be a serious advantage for sellers to have, at their disposal, a platform that researches and analyzes products, marketplace viability and competitive analysis. Algopix’s product reports allow more thorough product analysis, including data on profitability, number of offerings, competitor seller ratings and more. This provides the necessary information to go a step further and develop sales strategies that will allow sellers to be a step or two ahead of the competition, in multiple marketplaces.
Why stand pat when the competition is moving forward? You can gain access to valuable product and market data in real-time, by subscribing to the Algopix FREE 7-day trial or one of our plans. This will allow you to analyze products on a consistent basis, and select only high-demand and high-margin products for your listings.
Algopix provides all the necessary product info that you need to optimize your listing: descriptions, identifiers, dimensions and more. This will allow buyers to find your listings easier and faster!
Don’t sit back and wait until you make a sale! Go at it proactively, select the RIGHT products and accelerate your sales momentum to meet buyer demand and empower your eCommerce success.