Today’s empowered consumers are constantly connected to multiple online buying options. They can search for products on Google, price compare on Amazon and even shop on TikTok. There’s no telling what’s going to inspire them, where they’ll make a final purchase or which product they’ll ultimately decide to buy.
With a multichannel selling strategy that tailors your approach depending on the space, you can significantly increase your chances of showing the right products to the right people at the right times.
What is Multichannel Selling?
Multichannel selling means listing your products on more than one channel. This includes:
- Your own website
- Marketplaces (like Amazon and Rakuten)
- Social media (like Tiktok and Instagram)
- Comparison engines (like Google Shopping and PriceGrabber)
- Wholesale channels (like Alibaba and Faire)
Like diversifying an investment portfolio, multichannel selling is one of the surest ways to expand market share and prevent failure from a single-channel selling approach. That’s because modern consumers don’t shop in one place. They use their preferred device (smartphone, tablet or computer) to search for the best brands, the highest quality and the most beneficial deals. Plus, they aren’t loyal to just one marketplace. Many of them have subscriptions to more than one—and they’ll scour them all to find what they’re looking for.
What are the Benefits of Multichannel Selling?
Each channel you add grows your customer base, increasing your opportunity to gain more revenue. In fact, companies that sell across channels are more than twice as likely to report higher marketing effectiveness versus those using fewer channels and less integration.
Listing across multiple channels allows you to:
Every new channel you add is another opportunity to meet new audiences, present more targeted assortments and win more sales. The more market you cover, the more revenue you’ll capture.
Promote brand awareness
Seeing your brand in the channels consumers visit most often builds recognition across digital spaces. The more they see you, the more they’ll think of you when shopping.
Take advantage of mobile commerce
Consumers now spend a third of their waking hours on their phones. To reach them, you must engage them with fast and easy mobile experiences that meet their digital expectations.
The more channels you sell in, the more you’ll know about your customers. And the more you know about customers, the more you can segment audiences to tailor your marketing.
When you manage all of your channels from a centralized platform, you can minimize overhead and maximize productivity from one place.
The Downsides of Multichannel Selling
Just remember—selling on multiple channels also means managing more instances of your brand, each with its own regulations and requirements. This includes:
- Providing adequate customer support for different audiences
- Accounting for lead times in new regions
- Anticipating demand increases from the new channel
- Preparing for tax implications and business considerations ahead of time
Expanding to new channels also requires consistency in customer experiences. To scale, provide a unified look and feel across all of your channels so consumers immediately recognize the brand style, values and traits of your shop. You can either do this manually or select a digital solution to tie all your channels together and handle the complexities that come with multichannel selling.
How to Sell on Multiple Channels
Multichannel selling is not a one-time implementation. It’s an ongoing strategy that you must launch and carefully maintain overtime. In our experience, it involves five key stages:
1.Connect to the Right Channels
Focusing on one channel alone risks revenue, new audiences and brand strength. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales, third-party marketplaces and wholesale channels offer a way to diversify your presence across channels. But it also requires thorough review and understanding of each channel’s requirements for inventory management and logistics. And because each channel’s audience is different, it’s critical to tailor your content, build relationships and continue monitoring channel health well after launch.
2. Market at the Right Time
E-commerce is more fragmented than ever, and consumers have plenty of options when buying online. How can you get their attention? Look to the advertising platforms provided by each channel. Amazon offers four ad formats and eBay offers two while others help you target specific stages of the funnel. To maximize your presence in each channel, identify your goals upfront, boost visibility with segmentation and targeting and use review data to continually optimize.
3. Sell Where Consumers Shop
Every channel can (and should) be a sales channel. Are you chasing away consumers who are ready to buy? Whether on your own website, social media or a marketplace, prepare your channels for selling by adding three key elements:
- Detailed product information and content
- Competitive pricing
- Accurate inventory
4. Fulfill Customer Expectations
Selling across multiple channels requires full understanding and compliance with service level agreements (SLA). Winning at fulfillment is mostly about maintaining standardization (automating the selection of the best shipment method) and scalability (handling variations in sales volume across seasons). Third-party logistics (3PL) partners offer fulfillment reassurance by meeting your needs for current and future volume of daily orders, speed and storage requirements, additional geographies and much more. Or, look to marketplace fulfillment capabilities on Amazon, Walmart or Zalando for added compliance, increased conversion and greater expansion opportunities.
5. Optimize Every Channel
The online retail space changes quickly. As you regularly assess your sales channels, seek ways to optimize your brand’s presence in each by:
- Diversifying your channel mix even further. How does each channel play a role in your overall e-commerce strategy?
- Continually testing your product portfolio. Identify best sellers and expand top-performing products to avoid relying on limited lines.
- Optimizing in-stock rates. Identify and allocate inventory between channels so out-of-stocks don’t risk sales.
Best Practices for Multichannel Selling
With so many online retail options, it’s easy to add a few new channels to your mix. But to really win at multichannel selling requires careful strategy to stand out among the competition. As you execute, try to:
Prioritize the Customer Experience
Sure, adding new channels opens up additional revenue streams. But it also puts your brand in front of new customers to form relationships that build long-lasting loyalty. As you devise your multichannel selling strategy, put yourself in their shoes.
- Are you present in the channels your target audience shops most?
- Does your brand seem completely different from one channel to the next?
- Are you making it easy for them to shop?
- Are they continually met with out-of-stock alerts, or do you provide fulfillment options?
- Is the shopping experience smooth and streamlined? Or disjointed and confusing?
Remember—consumers today have loads of options for where to buy. A bad shopping experience with your brand gives them reason to explore other sellers.
Seek Advanced Multichannel Capabilities
Once your multichannel strategy is off and running, push it further with automation and e-commerce capabilities that capture more sales (and make your job easier). This may include capabilities like:
- Dropship fulfillment
- Channel performance analytics
- Buy online or buy local solutions
- Dynamic shopping links
- Retail content management
- Product data and inventory management
- Repricing technology
Integrate to Streamline E-Commerce Operations
You can’t manage each sales channel in a silo. When you have a central location to manage all your e-commerce operations, it’s much easier to expand to new channels and grow sales. An e-commerce optimization platform can help brands and retailers alike:
- Easily explore and launch in new channels
- Market effectively
- Increase visibility
- Navigate shipping complexities
- Engage loyal customers
ChannelAdvisor Helps You Win at Multichannel Selling
ChannelAdvisor helps you optimize your e‑commerce operations and reach more consumers across every stage of the buying journey—all from a centralized platform.
Thousands of the world’s largest brands turn to ChannelAdvisor for:
- Global Marketplace Integrations — Connect to 300+ channels around the world from one centralized platform.
- Product Feed Management — Ensure product data is optimized, mapped correctly and delivered to each marketplace in the correct format.
- Brand Analytics — Get at-a-glance, granular insights that make it easy to stay ahead of product content and merchandising issues.
- Shoppable Media — Maintain strong relationships with your retailer network and direct consumers to your preferred sales channels for a seamless path to purchase.
- Automated Repricing — Automate repricing across dozens of marketplaces while reducing the risk of noncompliance.
- Retail Media Advertising — Create, monitor and manage all of your retail media campaigns from within one central interface.
- Benchmarking — Get unmatched insight into how your performance stacks up against other sellers in your categories.
- Fulfillment — Build more resilient fulfillment operations with a flexible solution that supports a wide range of fulfillment options.
Experience the power of multichannel selling. See how ChannelAdvisor helps brands and retailers expand and grow in new channels by requesting a demo today.