The rapid development of e-commerce has led to an increasingly competitive business environment. All sellers both online and offline are trying their best to develop new ways to promote. This means that sellers are using multiple channels to sell and to grow their business. Time changes, and so does the market. Sellers have to stop limiting themselves by waiting for customers in the marketplace.
Multiple sales channels, known as cross-channel sales, refer to selling your products in more places than brick-and-mortar storefronts and e-commerce sites. Be it online, offline, or anywhere in between, it means you are offering multiple touch points for customers to interact with your brand, and have your items for sale and be able to put them in the hands of potential customers. For instance, if you already have a physical store, there are still several types of online marketplaces and platforms available for you to sell your products to customers who might not otherwise find you. Nowadays, there are various types of sales channels such as brick-and-mortar store, eBay, Amazon, etc.
You will get new customers and revenue from a multi-channel selling strategy. If you already have a clear multichannel marketing strategy in place, and if you want to manage it yourself, do you know how to implement it successfully? How can you maximize sales in all of your channels? This is the point of this article; this blog covers this topic and gives you tip for best practice. Keep reading!
1. Choose the Right Sales Channels
With dozens of websites and platforms available to sell your products, you must wonder how to get started. There are numerous opportunities to explore, from eBay to Amazon and even Facebook. You are faced with a wide variety of options to reach potential customers. First and foremost, sellers have to narrow down their choices to make the most sense for their business, products, audience, and brand. You have to decide which sales channel is the right one for you. There are several key factors to consider before you make your final decision.
Firstly, you have to consider your business model. Do you manage drop shipping, wholesale, or manufacturing? You also have to analyze your audiences’ habits such as how they shop, pay, and how much time they spend shopping to decide if the channel is suitable for you or not. Decide on your target customer then choose the right channel. Further, make sure you understand your cash flow and the channels’ payment processing system. Make sure your choice doesn’t cause you too much effort and doesn’t cost too much. Remember to consider your brand and its marketing positioning as well as your business goal. Last but not least, you have to know the strengths and weakness of each sales channel. Gather all relevant factors to identify the pros and cons of the various channels you’re considering. In this way, you will find the ones that are the best fit for your business.
2. Manage the Inventory
A well-organized inventory management system is a must if you are planning to work with multiple sales channels. It may be a difficult task to manage your inventory when you start selling across different channels. Imagine that your sales grow on various platforms; you have to track your inventory level and manage multiple orders. Hard as it is, you have to find the right solutions for effective management.
As we know, continuously switching from one marketplace to another will be extremely time-consuming. If possible, you can employ an inventory management system to make your business more efficient. The inventory management system serves as a central “hub” of your inventory. You will find all the pertinent info about every single product you sell and the automated order fulfillment info too. This system will integrate with all sales channels and all shipping carriers, enabling you to track the whereabouts of each item in the inventory. The automated system will automatically integrate the tracking number in each marketplace and send the relevant notice to your customer. You will be free from the complicated updating work in the inventory.
3. Integrate Marketing Operation
If you’ve already chosen your channels and got your products in place ready for sale, what else should you need? You need integration; It’s the key factor to ensure the success of your multi channel business and is the only way to offer a seamless shopping experience for your customers.
Selling on multiple channels is complicated, and it’s far easier for you to automate and integrate multiple channels into one system; otherwise, you could end up hand keying orders. When you’re selling on multiple channels, make sure you have a central location to fulfill your orders and manage your inventory and product data.
To offer a consistent customer service experience across different channels all your business systems and processes must be integrated. For example, an integrated system means that customers could buy an item from your physical store yet return it by an online process.
Integration of your business data also allows you to see an overview, analyze your business, and estimate your sales performance. Synchronization also puts your inventory data, orders, and SKUs in the same place so that you can manage more efficiently.
Once sellers integrate all their channels, they can see their business data much clearer and get a much better understanding of the market place too.
4. Provide the Best Customer Service
When you decide to utilize the multiple sales channels, you still have to keep an eye on your customer service. As we know, fantastic customer service will offer an excellent shopping experience for your customers which means lots of positive customer feedback for your business. It is a great opportunity for you to build your brand awareness among your consumers.
Multiple sales channels still require the best customer service. It’s likely that you will get more customer service issues when you adopt multichannel sales. Remember to negotiate customer service with your distributors, wholesalers, and decide who will be responsible for customer complaints. If possible, you can connect different communications channels to the same interface for your customers. You can offer options in multichannel customer service, and provide the channel that is easiest for your customer. You can make your service 24 hours so it’s accessible to all and you can also offer a great mobile support experience. Make your content available and readable on both mobile and desktop so that the customer can connect via mobile phone or desktop.
5. Analyze Your Data Regularly
To ensure a successful business, it’s imperative for sellers to analyze business performance data. You can review your business data on the integration system. To check and determine whether multiple sales channels are effective or not you have to see the long term value of multiple sales channels.
It means that you have to keep an eye on analysis. The data will show your sales on different channels, sold units, top customers, etc. All this represents the market situation, the quality of your product, and the customer service of your business. All this is to justify your business efforts and tell you the potential needs of each marketplace. Having all business data in one place makes it very easy for you to forecast your business profit and modify your marketing strategies on different marketplace accordingly. All this is to make sure all your business activities are on the right track so that you can move ahead with the right measures in place.
6. Optimize Your Marketplaces
Joining different marketplaces doesn’t mean that your sales will rocket overnight. Sellers still have to test, tweak, and optimize them to drive results. When you decide to adopt multiple sales channels, you may get a lot of quantitative data for your products. However, the data goes wrong sometimes. You have to follow up on feedback from buyers. You have to have a bigger picture of your business which includes the real customer feedback about the product quality, your sales performance, and customer service. It means that you have to consider surveys, follow-up emails, and customers’ satisfaction ratings to make sure all your activities are effective.
Besides, you also have to consider user testing to test the shopping experience from different platforms or websites. You will know a lot about your customer such as what they buy, how much they will spend and when they decide to buy. Get this info from real customers, and you will optimize your multi channel sales strategy, and be able to change sales measures to cope with the real demand from the market. Find the right target customer and understand much more about the consumer’s shopping behavior. This is how you can optimize for the right selling strategy for your business.
7. Build Social Media Footprint
Nowadays, social media platforms play a great role in business marketing; you can build your business profile on different social media platforms. Selling cross channels should not limit your marketing activities on social media.
It is a great touch point for customers to interact with your brand. You can link your physical stores and online stores or other distribution channels with your social media networks. Make daily updates on your social media networks. This is a great way for you to build your brand around your customers, and foster a harmonious business community on your social networks. You can find influencers to advertise your brand and your products to increase reach among your target customers and attract more users.
It may seem overwhelming when you start to expand your business on multiple channels. Luckily, you will find some helpful tips in this blog. With an automated inventory management system and an integration dashboard, you have everything you need accessible with great visibility plus a larger customer base which ultimately means more sales. You can incorporate some of these tips into your business strategy. We hope that you find they are helpful for your business expansion.