Many years ago, reaching customers through a single channel like a brick-and-mortar store would have been sufficient.
However, with customer needs growing complex, single-channel selling is fast becoming a thing of the past.
Today, sellers have diverse channels for reaching potential customers and growing their businesses.
But what exactly is multichannel selling?
In this article, we will go through all you need to know about multichannel selling.
Multichannel selling involves selling products to your customers across multiple sales channels like social media platforms, online marketplaces, and brick-and-mortar stores.
For example, a seller using a multichannel model may sell products on online marketplaces like eBay, and on their website, while also selling their products on social media platforms like Instagram.
With a multichannel business model, you can take advantage of each sales channel to reach a wider audience, improve brand visibility and increase sales.
Let's look at the primary sales channels that businesses use to reach their target audience:
A brick-and-mortar store goes way back in time and is perhaps the most traditional way of doing business.
A brick-and-mortar store is a physical building where consumers can come in and shop for products in person. Some consumers are still wary of online shopping and prefer to shop in a physical store. Brick-and-mortar stores include boutiques, department stores, farmers’ markets, etc.
However, with the rise of online shopping, many businesses now combine brick-and-mortar stores with online stores.
An online marketplace is a platform that connects multiple buyers and sellers. Online marketplaces enable transactions between store owners within the marketplace and their consumers. Think of Amazon - one of the largest online marketplaces in the world.
Other examples include eBay and Etsy. if you sell on these online marketplaces you will be in charge of order fulfillment, handling, and shipping of your products.
These platforms also come with standards and policies that sellers must adhere to.
Social media is a powerful platform to build your brand and expand your reach. Many brands now use social media to connect with their customers and market their products.
With social media, you can engage with your followers, pass your brand message across and convert followers into customers.
Many social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook now come with tools and features that enable customers to make direct purchases on the platform.
Without a doubt, online stores have increased over the years. With the rise of virtual shopping, many businesses have now set up online stores to cater to the needs of consumers.
With your online store, consumers can have access to a wide range of your products and make purchases directly from you. Platforms like Shopify make it easy to set up your online store within a few minutes.
With the growth in technology, other online spaces like Comparison portals and Mobile marketplaces have risen to cater to diverse shopping needs.
Comparison portals like Google Shopping allow consumers to browse through a list of products and click on the preferred seller's website if they want to make a purchase.
Multichannel selling is a powerful strategy that businesses can use to increase sales and revenue. Here are some significant benefits of multichannel selling:
With the multichannel strategy, you can have your products on diverse sales channels and expand your customer reach.
If you only have your products on one sales channel you are less likely to reach your full audience potential. However, with your products on multiple sales channels, you can meet your potential customers wherever they are.
With multichannel selling, you can give your customers the freedom to buy products from where they feel comfortable the most. This makes the buying process convenient, increasing customer satisfaction and improving their overall shopping experience.
By selling your products through multiple channels, you can gather a wider range of insights and data on your customer's demographics and behavior.
You can get a deeper understanding of your customer's journey and improve the shopping experience on each sales channel.
For example, you may realize that your product sells more on Amazon than on Etsy. With this insight, you can promote your product more on Amazon.
We've looked at the benefits of multichannel selling. Now, let’s examine some of the challenges you may face as you sell your products through multiple channels:
If you sell your products through multiple channels, you will need to have inventory going in and out consistently. Managing this process is no easy task. You may encounter problems like running out of stock, inadequate stock, or overselling. Ultimately, this can affect customer trust and sales.
Selling across multiple channels means you have to cater to each channel uniquely. This includes creating listings, managing orders and satisfying customer needs on each of these platforms. The entire process can be error-prone and time-consuming.
Selling on multiple channels involves marketing your products on multiple channels. This may become complex as different platforms may require different marketing approaches.
You will also be dealing with a different kind of customer with a unique buying intent. Overall, this can be tasking and time-consuming.
To take advantage of this powerful business model and increase sales, here are a few best practices that can help you sell effectively with multichannel selling:
In order not to feel overwhelmed, start with one channel and expand with time. You can start with your own ecommerce website or an online marketplace you think will bring the most value to your business before expanding to other channels.
As you expand, research each channel before integrating them. Consider channels that are the most valuable to your business.
Each sales channel has different customers who want different things. It is important to understand
your customers on each sales channel and optimize your strategy accordingly.
Ensure that each strategy focuses on the customer. For example, incorporating free shipping, a seamless shopping cart, and a good UI can improve the overall shopping experience on each of your sales channels.
Managing all channels and inventory is a crucial part of multichannel selling. You want to ensure that all channels are effectively managed and inventory is available across all sales channels. Sometimes, this can be challenging and time-consuming. To prevent this, you can invest in proper management software to centralize and automate the process.
It is important to remain consistent across all your sales channels. You want to ensure that your brand image, pricing, product quality, and customer service are consistent on every sales channel. Customers should expect the same shopping experience no matter where they decide to buy your product.
Both multichannel selling and omnichannel selling are often mistaken to be the same. However, both concepts are slightly different.
Multichannel selling involves marketing your products and brand across multiple channels. On the other hand, omnichannel selling involves using more than one channel to improve customer experience.
While multichannel selling focuses on creating awareness about your brand, Omnichannel selling involves creating a consistent consumer experience across different channels for people already interacting with your brand.
Multichannel selling involves increasing the number of channels and maximizing them for business growth. On the other hand, omnichannel selling focuses on the customer and aims to improve customer experience.
Creating consistency across multiple sales channels can require more time and investment. As a business owner, you may not have all the time and manpower to invest in each of your sales channels.
Thankfully, you can invest in multichannel listing software to help you automate the process.
Multichannel listing software is a solution that automates your product listing. All you need to do is gather your product data together and push it across all your sales channels.
With multichannel listing software, you can maintain consistent product information across all channels, automate order processes, and manage your inventory more effectively.
Some examples of multichannel listing software include:
Now we’ve looked at what multichannel selling is all about, you may be wondering - is multichannel selling good for my business?
Well, multichannel selling is a powerful strategy that has helped many businesses increase brand awareness, expand customer reach, and boost sales.
However, incorporating multichannel selling into your business is dependent on several factors. You want to consider your business goals and objectives, capacity, and available resources.
With the ever-increasing needs of consumers and the competitive ecommerce industry, multichannel selling is one strategy that can help you stay ahead of the competition.
With multichannel selling, you can reach your customers wherever they are, open your business to more sales opportunities and increase brand awareness.