What is Multichannel eCommerce?
Multichannel retail or eRetail is selling through more than one channel (such as your website or on eBay) and getting your products on many different places. Often the easiest way is to get onto various marketplaces, such as Amazon or Fruugo.
Some eRetails go beyond this and launch country specific websites or individual websites for their different brands. Integrating multiple websites can drive revenue as each website can target specific demographics or keywords.
Why do Multichannel eCommerce?
First, and most obviously, rather than limiting who gets to view your products, you get your products in front of a far wider audience and thus more potential customers. Different marketplaces attract different demographics. You will find that customers are attracted to the various marketplaces, due to their confidence in each platform and good loyalty programs that they offer.
It is worth remembering, too, that multichannel eCommerce gives you the ability to get in front of the same customer several times if they are browsing. Research shows that people would need to see an offer 7–10 times before taking action. Getting on multiple channels and marketplaces means you are more likely to have your product in front of them when they reach the buying decision.
5 Tips for Multichannel selling
1. Multichannel means multi – channels
While Amazon is a huge presence in eCommerce and is ranked as the # 1 online shopping website in most of the major economies, so it’s understandable that they are the first marketplace businesses will think of when considering multichannel eCommerce.
But don’t limit yourself just to Amazon, other marketplaces offer significant sales and some like Etsy may be so relevant to your products that they may actually be better for your business and brand.
The smaller sales channels may not have the volume of visitors but there may well be less competition.
2. Make sure your multichannel listings differ
When you list your items across channels, make sure that the actual content is different. The content is the titles and descriptions of the listing. The reason for this is search engines like Google and Yahoo don’t like duplicate content. If you use the same content in multiple places, it won’t have the same visibility as different content.
Also, you need to optimise the listing title for each channel, you will note that listings on eBay will have very different titles to Amazon.
3. Ensure that you run your multichannel efficiently
Adding additional channels does add more work but you need to ensure that the additional revenue outweighs the increase in cost. Otherwise, it is simply not worth it. Automation is the key. Getting all the orders onto the same platform for data analysis is a good start, from there you can run your customer service (if a customer calls you don’t want to be checking several platforms).
But getting your Multichannel Stock Synchronised is vital. If you sell across multiple channels, you run the risk of overselling. Overselling is where you sell more items than you have in stock. This is a real pain as you then need to contact customers to let them know and then issue refunds, or place new purchase orders and get the stock in quickly. Not a great customer experience.
Despatch Cloud, for example, connects to all your channels and as soon as an item sells, it will automatically update the other channels with the new stock quantities. This means that you won’t oversell due to being multichannel.
4. Make sure you don’t discriminate between buyers on multichannel
If you move from one channel to multichannel, then it is likely that most of your sales will, at the start, be on your first channel. It may be a natural reaction to focus on those. But many marketplaces have demands on how you treat their customers (and don’t misunderstand, on a marketplace they are their customers from the point of view of the marketplace). Failure to meet their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the marketplace may mean that your listings are less visible.
Aspiring to give all your customers the best customer experience will be the best multichannel strategy.
5. Stand out on Multichannel
If you already sell on your own website, you are selling from a single place with no competition. Selling multichannel, you are facing competition from far more products and sellers. You will need to put more effort into standing out. Many marketplaces allow you to pay them in order to promote your products. But this is not ideal from a profit point of view.
Paying attention to the details of your listing is really important, as suggested already, you should ensure you have unique content for the listings but pick a style which matches your brand and keep it consistent. Mildly humorous and quirky styles can work well.
Visuals, as you will know or have guessed, are vital on multichannel marketplaces. Pay attention to the photos you use, look at ways you can make them more exciting, use backdrops or accessories which can help engage your customers and give your product the “wow” factor.
5 Marketplaces to Consider
Starting as an online bookseller, Amazon is now the world’s largest online retailer offering services from cloud hosting to feed deliveries. Amazon sells in its own right and also sells other people’s products through it’s marketplace, taking commission. One big advantage is that you can list products across their network of country-specific Amazon sites.
A challenger marketplace based in the beautiful region of Cumbria, in the northwest of England, Fruugo offers fully localised marketplaces in over 46 countries and in places which Amazon does not reach. One listing gives you access to all of them. Bear in mind that if you are a UK seller, they charge VAT on their commission which if you are VAT registered you can reclaim. They are growing fast, so a great way to extend the reach of your products.
One of the earliest eCommerce companies, eBay is well known and well used. For many start up eCommerce companies, Ebay is the starting point where they turn a hobby into a business, due to ease of use and simple pricing structure.
Known best for its arts and crafts, it is the destination of choice for those looking for unique and often quirky gifts. If you sell handmade, or unique, vintage products this is the marketplace for you. New York based Etsy are a very human business and try to keep eCommerce as a human to human transaction rather than a cold electronic interface. Their aim is to millions of buys to products which have a human touch.
The fastest-growing marketplace in the world, UK-based OnBuy offers lower selling fees than other marketplaces (at just 5-9%) and gives you access to millions of customers. They promise never to compete against sellers, but instead focus all their efforts on helping you grow your business.
With plans for expansion into over 140 countries, starting with more than 40 initial sites in 2020, OnBuy gives an incredibly significant breadth of markets to access. They also utilise PayPal as their payment gateway meaning that you get paid immediately on item dispatch, unlike many other marketplaces, and you can access the PayPal Seller Protection scheme.
Want to expand your eCommerce business and expand onto more channels? Despatch Cloud has order management software and stock management software which can help you remain as efficient on multichannel as you are on a single channel.
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