Multichannel retail: Why one marketplace is not enough

Every online store you sell is a sales channel. This includes your website, Amazon, Instagram, Instagram Checkout, etc.

No matter how well a channel is, if you only sell through one channel, you are missing out on potential customers. Online shoppers, even those within your target audience, tend to have a few favourite platforms on which they spend most of their time and money. They won’t see you if you aren’t there.

How can you ensure they see you? Multichannel selling is the ability to be in multiple places at once. This guide will help you understand what to do and how to make the most of your time.

Multichannel selling has five benefits

It’s hard enough to manage one sales channel, so why put in the extra effort? It’s worth it for many reasons:

1. Reach new people

People don’t leave their favourite online marketplaces to find new ones. You have to get to them, otherwise they won’t come to your place.

Instead of convincing customers to change their shopping habits you should meet them where they are. Each channel you open will allow you to tap into a new audience.

2. Diversify your income sources

You may have heard the expression, “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.” When you drop the basket, the eggs will break. If you place your eggs in multiple baskets, you can protect yourself from any damage.

It doesn’t matter if you run a business. Although you may be able to generate revenue through one channel, if it goes down, you would have to start again from scratch. Even small inconveniences like a website going down can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Diversification, which is the creation of multiple income streams, is the best defense.

3. Try new products and strategies

You have a great idea but aren’t sure if you should share it with your main sales channel. Multichannel selling allows you to test new products, pricing strategies or promotions on secondary channels before you bring them to your biggest audience.

You can use your secondary channels to get more insight and to benefit from a wider range of customers and site designs. This is especially useful when redesigning your website, or optimising your checkout to increase conversions.

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4. Increase brand awareness

Your brand is more memorable if more people see it. Multiple platforms are used by shoppers. Every time one of these shoppers sees your logo or name, it reinforces your brand and helps you to be remembered in the future. Your brand can look more successful if you appear on several channels. People assume that you do a lot of business.

5. Great return on investment

Many online channels charge a large percentage of each sale. Although startup fees may be higher than those charged by WooCommerce, they are often minimal and can lead to a significant increase in revenue.

Your multi-channel checklist

Are you ready to sell on multiple channels? These questions will help you get off to a solid starting point.

Are you able to identify the shops of your target customers?

Multichannel selling is all about focus and precision. It’s not about joining every channel, but rather about finding the right ones for your business. Find out which platforms are most popular with your target customers and then join them. Also, research which platforms are most suitable for your niche. While handmade crafts can be a great fit for Etsy but may not be in high demand on Amazon, they are perfect for Etsy.

We recommend creating buyer persona if you are unsure about your target customer’s preferences.

Are you familiar with the rules and policies that will govern your new channel?

Each channel has its own guidelines. While some are small, such as the formatting of product images, others, such as return policies, can have a significant impact on your income and procedures. To avoid surprises, make sure you review these before you go.

Are you using standardized product identifiers for your products?

It is best to stick with one method. You’ll have logistical headaches trying remember which system you used for which channels.

Global Trade Item Numbers, (GTIN) are the best choice. They are regulated by GS1. GTINs can include the Universal Product Code (UPC) and the European Article Numbers (EAN), both popular in North America. While some channels may have their own identifiers, such as Amazon’s ASIN, most will be satisfied with a GTIN.

Are you using inventory software?

Multichannel selling strategies can be daunting because you have to manage all your outlets simultaneously. inventory software automates many of these tasks.

Every time you make an order, inventory software updates the stock levels across all channels. You would have to manually go through each channel to change stock levels, or you could risk overselling.

Are you able to communicate effectively?

Your loyal customers should know if you are expanding into new channels. Customers may choose one of the new channels over the other, which could make them happier. A public announcement via social media can be shared easily and spread the word to other people.

It is a good idea to hold a “grand opening sale”, just like brick-and-mortar shops, to get new customers at the beginning, when they are most needed. You can reward subscribers with special coupon codes if you follow best practices in email marketing.

The more you have, the better!

Multiplying your sales channels will increase your reach and allow you to better serve customers. To reduce the amount of work involved, make sure you use inventory management software. This will allow for a wider range of revenue streams.

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