What is multichannel selling?
Post by Expandly on 13th November 2018
Multichannel selling, multi-channel selling, bricks and more, online and offline – whatever you call it, multichannel selling is the sales strategy that is taking over the ecommerce world, but what is multichannel selling, what are the benefits of multichannel selling and how do you get started with multichannel selling? Luckily, this is a topic we know a little something about.
What is multichannel selling?
Multichannel selling is the process of selling your products on more than one sales channel. Multichannel management includes a mix of your own website and shopping cart, online marketplaces, mobile marketplaces and/or bricks and mortar stores.
Who should be multichannel selling?
If you sell, you should be multichannel selling. Regardless of your size, selling on multiple sales channels provides retailers with an added advantage in competing with even bigger retailers.
What are the different types are sales channels?
There are six main types of sales channels that can form part of your multichannel selling strategy. These are:
1. Your website and shopping cart (e.g. Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce)
2. Online marketplaces (e.g. Amazon, eBay and Etsy)
3. Mobile marketplaces (e.g. Wish)
4. Social media (e.g. Facebook and Instagram)
5. Comparison websites (e.g. Google)
6. Bricks and mortar (i.e. your high street store)
Each of these sales channels offers their own unique customers, market focus, marketing efforts and benefits (as well as challenges).
Why should I be multichannel selling?
Two words: increased sales. Selling on multiple sales channels increases your exposure to potential customers, which increases your sales opportunities. Online shoppers are either staying loyal to one sales channel (meaning that you’ll miss out if you’re not there), or they’re shopping around (meaning that you’ll miss out if you’re not on more than one of them).
What are the benefits of multichannel selling?
There are many benefits of multichannel selling including:
1. Being where your customers shop
2. Staying ahead of the competition
3. Increasing your touch points
4. Reaching new markets
5. Combining efforts
6. Expanding brand recognition
Being where your customers shop
Are you where your customers shop? Sure, you might be getting great sales using just one sales channel but think about the millions of potential customers shopping elsewhere or on different platforms (such as mobile and tablet).
Putting all of your eggs into one shopping basket is a dangerous game, whereas listing on multiple sales channels puts you wherever your potential customers are; allowing customers the freedom of choice in where they buy from you.
Staying ahead of the competition
Online shoppers shop around. Fact. If you’re not on a sales channel that your competitor is, you run the significant risk of them not only buying from your competitors but them not even knowing that you exist.
Listing on multiple sales channels puts you where your competitors are and where they aren’t – increasing your chances of winning.
Increasing your touch points
Rarely are online shoppers ready to buy when they first encounter your product or brand. Quite often they’ll read reviews, think about it and search out comparisons.
Multichannel selling gets you in front of the customer at every possible touch point. From when they’re scrolling through Facebook, to when they’re comparing prices and delivery options – you’re there repeatedly, increasing brand recognition (below) and the chances of being bought from.
Reaching new markets
Online marketplaces, mobile apps, social media, comparison sites – they all have individual customer markets, and if you’re only selling on one of these channels, you’re only reaching one market.
Being on multiple sales channels increases your reach by exposing your products to new and different markets, as well as allowing price comparison websites to find and recommend you.
Dream of having Amazon’s marketing budget, imaging having eBay’s AI expertise, lust after Wish’s recommendation tech – but struggling to even get people to your website?
Multichannel selling lets you take advantage of the marketing efforts, attention (think Prime Day) and technology used by the bigger ecommerce companies. They do the hard work in letting buyers know about you, you’ve then got their attention to drive them (and their future purchases) to your website.
Expanding brand recognition
Think of the big brands. They’re everywhere. In the supermarkets, online, on the TV, in your emails and on your social media. And you buy from them.
The same occurs with multichannel selling. The more places you are, the more people come to recognise your brand and subconsciously trust and warm to it.
What are the challenges of multichannel selling?
Multichannel selling doesn’t come without its challenges, the main ones being:
1. Managing multiple sales channels
2. Inventory management
3. Brand consistency
4. Customer experience
Managing multiple sales channels
Logging into one sales channel, creating listings, processing orders and managing returns is fairly simple. Add more than one sales channel to the mix and all of a sudden,you’re duplicating efforts, managing orders across multiple logins and having products going out and coming in via a variety of marketplaces. Luckily, multichannel management software provides a central login to manage listings, orders and returns from one screen (phew!)
If you thought cash flow and stock management was tough with one sales channel, wait until you expand. Good inventory management is key to good cash flow and happy customers. Poor inventory management leads to out of stock items and overselling, which is bad for sales, reviews and loyalty. Invest in multichannel management software that includes inventory management software – automatically ensuring your inventory is on top and in stock across all of your sales channels, while not adding extra costs.
Brand consistency comes all the more important (and harder) with multiple sales channels. Have an inconsistent brand, and you risk damaging your reputation and making it harder to gain customer trust; whereas a strong and consistent brand identity allows customers to quickly identify you and helps to build customer loyalty. Pay attention to your logo, colour scheme, tone of voice and images.
The customer is king, and that doesn’t change with more than one sales channel. Yet, processing orders quickly from checkout to shipping is challenging when you’re monitoring orders from more than one platform. Ensure that orders are processed quickly and delivered on time by using multichannel management software that includes order management.
A common multichannel seller mistake is to think that marketing efforts simply need to be replicated across their different channels. Each sales channel brings its own mix of customers, meaning marketing that works on one, won’t necessarily work on the other. Spend time to tailor your marketing strategy per sales channel and audience to see the most rewards.
We know it’s your least favourite word but reporting is crucial to successful multichannel selling. But collating and translating data from each sales channel is time-consuming and complicated. Set aside adequate time each week to update your reports or, invest in multichannel management software that automatically processes this data for you – telling you what sells well, where.
What is multichannel management software?
Multichannel management software integrates your website’s shopping cart, online marketplaces, mobile marketplaces, shipping carrier and accounting software, into one easy and accessible platform.
Data automatically flows between your sales channels and into Expandly, allowing you to log into one location to run your ecommerce business from.
What are the benefits of multichannel management software?
Multichannel management software makes selling on multiple sales channels:
Easy – Efficient – Profitable – Manageable
It does this through:
Create, upload and edit all of your listings in bulk, from one central location – this includes descriptions, images and site-specific data. This saves time, avoids duplication and drastically reduces errors.
View, track, process, update and download all order information from a central location, as well as creating packing slips, pick lists and invoices. This reduces turnaround times, increasing customer happiness.
Live inventory management syncs your stock levels across all of your sales channels, preventing over-selling, avoiding ring-fencing and satisfying your customers.
Multichannel management software integrates with your shipping carrier to produce shipping labels, invoices and paperwork while simultaneously updating your sales channels; making life easier.
Reporting and invoicing
Access and download real-time sales data to keep on track and make informed business decisions. This includes reporting on what’s selling best, where, allowing you to be more strategic.
Who should use multichannel management software?
Anyone selling on multiple sales channels should be using multichannel management software to save time, money and stress.
How much does multichannel management software cost?
The price of multichannel management software depends on the platform you use. At Expandly, we believe multichannel management software should be accessible regardless of your size. That’s why we’re focused on providing big tools, at small prices. Our intuitive and self-explanatory system makes it easy for ecommerce businesses to set up and get going on their own – keeping our prices low. But, if you would like additional training, integrations or help, we can provide that too.
What the are best multichannel management platforms?
There are many multichannel management platforms to choose from out there – all ranging in price, functionality and integrations. When choosing the best multichannel management software for your ecommerce business, be sure to consider:
Ensure the multichannel management software integrates with the online marketplaces you want to use (Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Wish), your shopping cart (Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce etc.), shipping carrier (Royal Mail, DHL, Yodel etc.) and accounting software (Xero).
As a standard, multichannel management software should offer bulk listing tools, order management, inventory management, reporting functionalities, accounting integrations and shipping label printing.
Multichannel management software should save you money by saving time and increasing sales. If the costs of the system outweigh what you’re saving, look for a cheaper provider
Many platforms will offer you a demo, but there is nothing like trialling the software for yourself. Ensure that you get a free trial of between 7-14 days to test the platform against your needs fully.
Expandly is the multichannel management software, making selling on multiple sales channels simple and affordable. To find out more, and receive a free 14-day trial, contact us today.