The Future of eCommerce: Multi-Channel Management
In 2017, eCommerce sales rocketed past $409 billion–nearly $50 billion more than the previous year. By 2021, eCommerce transactions in the U.S. are expected to reach beyond $600 billion.
The key to capitalizing on this rampant growth is to leverage a multitude of platforms for product sales.
Multi-channel sales enable online merchants to increase revenue through reaching a broader audience of shoppers when and where they are ready to buy. These sales channels include popular destinations like eCommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, various social media websites, messaging applications and other sales-oriented communities where prospects “live.”
Make no mistake, multi-channel management is incredibly challenging; however, it is the future of the industry itself.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, 73 percent of online shoppers “…used multiple channels during their shopping journey.” Moreover, these individuals spend “…10% more online than single-channel customers,” and–interestingly–with each added channel they employ, the more they spend. These folks also drop more cash in-store, are more loyal and more valuable to businesses in just about every way.
The fact is that the most profitable eCommerce stores are currently selling to their customers wherever they are already hanging out online. They utilize shop-able Instagram adverts, embedded Facebook stores and buy-able Pins. They are present on Amazon, eBay, Jet, Groupon and other major marketplaces.
Ready to push your brand into the next evolution of eCommerce? Read on to discover five necessities for crafting a multi-channel eCommerce management strategy.
1 – Select Portals Based on Profitability
The first step in spreading your single-channel strategy into a multi-channel brand is carefully selecting which platforms you want to leverage based on which are poised to be most profitable.
To choose channels that will be beneficial, you need to be aware of where your target audience “lives” online. If your audience doesn’t use Pinterest, then sinking money into buy able Pins will be worthless.
When picking platforms, you will also need to consider your brand’s niche, fulfillment logistics and seller fees or commission rates of various platforms.
For instance, if you think your audience shops on Amazon (they do), you need to vet out the site’s competition volume for your product or niche and pricing while also accounting for Amazon’s fees to determine if this is a wise move for you.
It might be profitable for some products, but some may fall flat.
Also, start by adding one channel at a time. You don’t want to overload operations.
2 – Organize Inventory Management
Before you start cranking out ads for your various marketplace offerings, you need to procure a stellar multichannel inventory management system. Without this, all your efforts will be futile.
Adding channels greatly complicates inventory management. As a result, nearly one-third of all retailers “…lack the inventory visibility across stores, warehouses and vendors in order to accurately promise orders.”
Each time an order is made on any of your sales channels, it needs to be automatically updated across the entirety of your ecosystem. For instance, if you have in stock eight red jackets and you sell one through eBay and four via Amazon, your website (and any other channels) needs to reflect that you only have three in stock to prevent problematic situations with customers.
The most advisable route for this is to obtain a single tool that can monitor and update your inventory and prices across all portals in real-time. Otherwise, you will likely end up in an undesirable situation that could cost you a customer.
3 – Adjust Strategies Based on Channels
Equally important as selecting the correct channels for your customers is employing the right strategy for a given platform.
For instance, offering free delivery on your website might be a big deal for some customers but it probably doesn’t mean much of anything to the Amazon Prime crowd. On Etsy, you may want to emphasize your product’s hand-made nature, whereas on eBay, affordability reigns supreme.
By adjusting your product descriptions and highlighted features to fit various platforms, you stand a far greater chance of garnering sales.
Additionally, this same logic holds true when advertising products across different social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so forth. When advertising on social media, be aware of the audience, the tactics that work on various platforms and which products might perform better on certain sites.
4 – Never Sacrifice Service
Bad customer service is a brand killer. Many of the most-hated companies in America make the list because of sub-par service.
When extending your brand into new digital territories, it is critical that your customer service remains stellar.
The fact is that worst experiences will get shared online. On the flip side, 55 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
This can certainly be a challenge, but if your brand falters in this department, the expansion will likely have been pointless.
As your brand spreads out into new markets, customer service will need to expand as well by hiring more representatives or, at the very least, employing tools like Freshdesk to keep queries organized in a central location.
5 – Constantly Analyze Performance
The continued growth and success of any business relies on constantly monitoring and acting upon analytics data for each channel. Doing so will enable you to understand where your sales are coming from and which channels are falling short so that you can make the necessary adjustments.
Platforms like Zentail provide multi-channel sellers with eCommerce analytics data and most of the other tools and functionality needed for operating in this way.
Through multi-channel analytics, merchants can easily uncover:
- What each channel sells best
- How much people are spending through various portals
- Which products generate the best ROI for each channel
- And more
By regularly viewing eCommerce analytics data, you can optimize each channel’s performance and make your extra effort worth the while.
Selling through multiple channels is the next natural step for all eCommerce merchants. Instead of trying to drive customers to your website, meet them where they already are. Multi-channel selling is a hugely profitable endeavor, though it can be massively challenging and complex. However, with the proper resources and knowledge, it can be very possible and even very easy to optimize your omnichannel retail efforts.
Since founding a Digital Marketing Agency Cibirix, Ashish has used his marketing knowledge to lead the agency in generating truly efficient digital marketing experiences for clients.