There are now hundreds of methods to attract new consumers. And the number seems to be growing faster.
Many people start with the goal of building a user-friendly, branded online store or website that focuses on client satisfaction. This is an essential step and a fantastic approach to promoting and legitimizing your brand, but it isn’t always the most effective method to acquire new consumers in a tough market.
Most online shoppers are not looking on a brand’s website when they perform a search for a product.
Consider how frequently you go straight to a company’s website rather than beginning your research on Amazon, eBay, a big-box store, or any online store.
Multichannel integration has exploded in importance, with e-commerce moving toward a greater multichannel approach.
Businesses must be able to contact their consumers in numerous ways, including via the internet, mobile, comparative search engines like Google Shopping, social commerce platforms like Facebook, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and other social media channels.
Merchants who leverage a multichannel selling approach may reach consumers all across the world and list their items everywhere, which helps them achieve greater sales and long-term success.
What is multichannel selling?
Multichannel selling is the act of selling your items on more than one sales channel at once.
A multichannel selling approach lets you piggyback off the existing customer bases of other platforms and businesses, allowing you to accelerate your growth phase.
There are six main types of online sales channels that can make up a multichannel selling strategy, including:
- Your eCommerce website – Your owned digital real estate.
- Online marketplaces – Amazon has established the gold standard for internet marketplaces. These platforms typically aggregate a variety of third-party items, which are displayed in an almost limitless range that makes it simple for customers to locate whatever they need.
- Mobile marketplaces – They’re similar to their market-leading counterparts, but they’re mobile-first. Unlike Amazon and eBay, which have always been mobile shopping apps, they’ve always been mobile shopping apps. Some examples include Wish, Mercari, and OfferUp.
- Social media platforms – These names will ring many a bell and include the usual suspects: TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
- Comparison shopping engines – Google Shopping or Bing Shopping are examples of these. The most significant distinction between comparison engines and marketplaces is that purchases are made on the latter, whereas the former directs customers to eCommerce or retail sites to complete a purchase.
- Brick and mortar – Your physical footprint.
Each of these sales channels exposes your company to a distinct mix of consumers, market trends, and identified drawbacks.
This service is accessible to all businesses, regardless of their size, since it allows them to reach out to potential consumers and most importantly, boost sales.
5 advantages of multichannel selling
The most visible advantage of multiple channel selling is improved sales possibilities, but it’s not the only one. Other benefits include:
Every customer is unique. Some people like to go straight to the source, while others may want to compare prices across several sources.
It’s only natural for you to want to encourage as many people as possible to buy from you. Adding more channels for individuals to acquire from you makes perfect sense in terms of reaching the most potential consumers.
A competitive advantage
You lose out on a sale if you’re not on the same sales channel as your competitor, but worst of all, you run the danger of your target audience’s mind share being completely taken over by the competition.
This implies that you will forego any possible future sales since consumers will never consider buying from you while in product-search mode.
Joining an online marketplace also gives you access to the marketplace’s marketing and technology.
Amazon’s Prime Day, for example, draws millions of potential customers who may buy from you that day and even in the future via your website.
Increased brand recognition
The more places you may get your products or services noticed, the more people will know about you.
This increases consumer confidence and increases the perspective of a future purchase.
Many eCommerce firms frequently over-rely on one sales channel, especially if they’ve seen significant success from it.
However, the eCommerce business is plagued by numerous carpet pulls, leaving companies in a bind when a channel changes dramatically owing to internal or external factors. A multichannel strategy aids in the mitigation of channel danger.
3 disadvantages of multichannel selling
For all of its advantages, multichannel selling doesn’t come without its challenges. Those include:
Managing multiple channels
Multichannel selling proves difficult without the right omnichannel retail platform to keep customer information and engagement seamless.
Managing multiple sales channels without a good omnichannel eCommerce platform, such as Wix eCommerce, might be a headache.
The ideal eCommerce solution will combine your efforts by providing a single login and dashboard to manage products, orders, and returns.
Failing to keep track of inventory can lead to out-of-stock items and overselling. This is not only bad for sales, but it can also cause poor client feedback and customer loyalty loss.
Inventory management software, such as Shopify or WooCommerce, can also assist by ensuring that your inventory is up to date and in-stock across all sales channels.
Managing your brand and the entire client experience may be tough as you add more sales channels. An inconsistent brand experience can damage your reputation and make it harder to gain customer trust.
Moreover, processing orders quickly from checkout to shipping can also become a challenge as you increase channels.
Marketplace leaders in 2022
You don’t need a blog post to tell you that Amazon is the top marketplace for online sellers. It should be at the top of your list of potential sales channels, with 5.2 billion site visits each month.
Many merchants appreciate Amazon’s simple checkout and fulfillment process, which is especially beneficial over other internet marketplaces.
However, maintaining brand consistency and standing apart from the ever-growing list of competitors selling on it is a challenge.
Another online marketplace powerhouse, eBay also draws billions of site visits per month.
The eCommerce giant differentiates itself from Amazon, which acts as more of a traditional retailer, with its online auctions. eBay focuses on the sales of both used and new products between third-party sellers and buyers and is particularly popular for its international eCommerce.
Mercado Libre, a Latin American firm, is comparable to eBay in that it offers online marketplaces dedicated to eCommerce and online auctions. The two often collaborate to expand eBay sellers into Latin America.
Other marketplace options for online sellers include:
- Rakuten – A computer and electronics-focused online marketplace. Rakuten is one of a kind in that it includes a service through which consumers may earn money back on their purchases made using a Rakuten link.
- AliExpress – a well-known marketplace that allows small businesses to sell to customers all around the world. AliExpress has been compared to eBay because sellers are independent and utilize the platform to sell items.
- Shopee – a leading e-commerce platform that serves clients and vendors in Southeast and East Asia. Shopee also connects online retailers in several nations throughout Latin America who wish to trade their items.
- Walmart Marketplace – You may sell your items alongside Walmart-exclusive goods on Amazon or eBay, for example, just like on Walmart Marketplace. It’s an easy method to get your items in front of a large audience by selling on Walmart Marketplace.
- Etsy – A unique marketplace for handcrafted or vintage items and craft materials. Etsy has risen to prominence as a result of its long-term success as a marketplace for creative individuals. Etsy is still a favorite sales channel for merchants who specialize in DIY products.
- Taobao – A platform for small companies and individual entrepreneurs. The majority of Taobao’s merchants cater to customers in China.
- Pinduoduo – The most important agriculture-related technology platform in China. Pinduoduo has developed an interactive buying experience that connects farmers and distributors with customers directly.
- Trendyol – Trendyol is now the most popular eCommerce platform in Turkey. Trendyol began as a fashion store aiming to make apparel available to everyone but has continued to expand by adding new items and services.
- Allegro – One of the most popular eCommerce platforms in Eastern Europe, Allegro is a Polish marketplace and one of the top eCommerce platforms in Europe. Allegro is one of Europe’s four largest online marketplaces and leading technology-driven trading business.
- Target Plus – In February 2019, Target launched its online marketplace to add to its product selection. Target Plus is a special invite-only marketplace where third-party vendors’ goods are combined with Target’s existing offerings.
- Wayfair – an American eCommerce firm that has become well-known for selling furniture and home goods. Many people call Wayfair the Amazon of the household goods industry, owing to its success in comparison to other online retailers.
- JD.com – eCommerce business JD.com specializes in selling electronics, mobile phones, and computers. JD.com is well-known for its technological investments including the world’s biggest drone delivery system, infrastructure, and capacity.
How to optimize a multichannel selling strategy
Multichannel selling is a proven technique to increase online sales, but it requires the appropriate approach to avoid losing money.
It is critical to plan and manage your outlets in such a manner that they are operating for your benefit and keeping your consumers happy.
Another critical element of multichannel selling is to integrate inventory and operations. Adding more channels adds another set of logistical difficulties.
The ability to keep an eye on inventory constantly can help you avoid overselling or being short-stacked, thanks to the potential for more sales.
Multi-channel selling software can help companies synchronize inventory and iron out difficulties by centralizing operations for all channels.
Multi-channel selling software also allows retailers to link their inventory and handle accounting, shipping, and fulfillment.
Coordinating inventory and logistics begins with data management in a centralized location.
Instead of gathering this information from channel to channel, consider using reporting tools that keep data in one place.
Last, but not least, your multichannel approach must increase marketplace sales. You can’t just sign up for a marketplace and start selling items right away.
Testing the market, making modifications as needed, and then further optimizing for higher results is part of your plan.
Customer feedback and quantitative data are two fantastic approaches to accomplish this. Data isn’t always correct, but hearing it directly from the source is the next best thing.
Surveys, follow-up emails, and satisfaction ratings are all helpful methods for receiving customer feedback.
Combining their responses with your data can help you ensure that the marketplaces you chose are effective.
Balancing increased brand awareness and brand protection
One of the most significant benefits of multichannel selling is increased brand recognition.
Adding sales channels beyond your primary channel—whether that be brick-and-mortar, an online marketplace, or your website—exposes a whole new range of potential customers to your brand.
Increased brand awareness promotes more traffic to all of your channels, resulting in a larger market presence.
However, listing your product across a range of channels comes at the risk of losing part of your brand identity.
When multichannel selling, it’s critical to choose which channels you wish to utilize before diving in. Because not every channel will be appropriate for your business, you must prioritize them.
When choosing the right channels for your business, ask yourself, “Can your brand still be on-message and reach your target customer base?”
The right marketplaces should act as an extension of your online store.
In other words, you shouldn’t push all of your items to every marketplace but instead should identify which ones you can compete on with price and which ones retain a distinct position.
It’s also critical to keep brand consistency across all sales channels. Make sure your logo, color scheme, tone of voice, and photos are always on-brand in any territory you’re selling in.
A strong and consistent brand identity allows customers to quickly identify you and helps to build customer loyalty.