Why you should start multi-channel selling
Posted on: 13 November 2018
By: Amy Bruce, Software Specialist
Why you should start multi-channel selling
Selling online through your own branded eCommerce website isn’t always enough in this competitive online world. With the online retail giants, Amazon and eBay affecting the way your customers shop, it’s important that your brand and products are in front of your potential customers. Ahead of John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Aldi, Amazon is now the fifth biggest retailer in the UK with only the big 3 supermarkets ahead. For your online business, this means more exposure of your product is key to penetrating a larger market space.
Companies are adopting a ‘sell anywhere to sell more’ attitude in order to be in the running of winning and retaining business. Multi-channel selling refers to a company that sells on several online market places including a branded eCommerce site, marketplaces and social media as well as a bricks and mortar store. It’s important for companies to be strategic in their selling approach and increase the ways their customers can buy their products to give the customer the best buying experience they can offer.
Everyone is aware of the power of selling online on your own branded website. One in every five pounds spent in UK shops is online which is why an online presence can help to boost your sales. An eCommerce website allows you to trade 24/7 without the extra workload. Seamless integration between your site and your business software will mean you can process online daily orders just the same as any other order.
The term marketplace refers to a retail site that allows you to sell your products via its online store. For example, Amazon, eBay and etsy are just a few of the many marketplaces that allow you to sell via their brand, for a cost. There are many advantages and disadvantages of this but primarily, especially for the giants in the online retail business, selling your products via their well-known brand is the perfect way to increase your potential target audience.
Amazon is quickly becoming the ‘Google’ of the online shopping world and often, people who are looking to buy products online will turn to Amazon to get an idea of what’s on the market and the best prices to pay for it.
Social media retailing
Selling your products directly through Instagram or Facebook is not for every business but works extremely well for lifestyle or clothing brands. However, if you don’t fit into those sectors, the platforms aren’t to be ignored. If you know your customers are active on social media, whether it’s for pleasure or business, social media advertising may be a way to get your products in front of them when they least expect it.
Where to start?
Think of these multiple selling channels as an extension of your store and devise a plan to sell your products depending on the marketplace you choose to maximise ROI. On Amazon, your products must compete on price. If you have high volume, low cost products you can offer, then you’ll have more success on Amazon than those with niche, expensive, one-off items.
Often, if your direct competitors are found on other marketplace channels, it makes sense to sell there also. This ensures any customers who buy from your competitors on that platform will also see your brand. If you can compete on price or even shipping cost, then that’s even better.
Is multi-channel selling more effort for you?
Multi-channel selling means that your orders, stock and payments are going to be generating and moving at a quicker pace, which could be difficult to manage. To maximise efficiency and minimise order mistakes, it crucial to have a system in place that allows you to keep on top of all your orders, from all channels.
An integration package, like the Online Channel Hub in prof.ITplus, allows you to keep control of your orders and products on the marketplace giants, Amazon and eBay. Having a business software system that can link both your Amazon and eBay accounts as well as your eCommerce site to your CRM and Order Processing system will save you time, take away the stress of manually processing orders and reduce the risk of mistakes when handling multiple selling platforms.
It’s important to consider what platforms are right for your company and any extra costs involved in having a marketplace account. But, if you have products right for the channel, your pricing is competitive, and you find your competitors featuring on these sites, it’s worth considering the benefits of multi-channel selling.
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