Do you feel like you could be doing more to sell on multiple channels?
That’s how most brands feel. And let's be honest, the competition is tough.
As challenging as it may be, multichannel selling has many opportunities a seller cannot afford to miss. According to a report done by BigCommerce, now more than ever, brand loyalty is non-existent. For instance, American consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping both offline and online, with:
- 74% of consumers shop in-store at large retailers
- 54% of consumers shop on online marketplaces
- 44% of consumers shop on online web stores
- 36% of consumers shop at category-specific online retailers
This just goes to show that customers shop where it is most convenient, whether it is based on affordability, quality, or brand preference. If you aren’t meeting your customers at every touchpoint, be it through marketplaces, social media, or comparison shopping engines (CSEs), you’re missing a huge opportunity of creating brand awareness, reaching a wider audience, and bringing in more sales.
So, if consumers have these many options, how do you succeed?
1. Don’t put your eggs in one basket
When it comes to ecommerce, we know that it’s not wise to only sell in one place. Your biggest competitor isn’t only other web stores but marketplaces too.
As mentioned, 54% of shopping happens on marketplaces, and it’s because most shoppers prefer marketplaces due to the convenience offered. These online stores are a one-stop place where customers can purchase most of their products. It’s where they’ve built trust, and they offer competitive prices. Double win!
Now, when it comes to a customer choosing to go to your site versus a popular marketplace, the chances of them coming to you are slim. And this is why you need to go to them. As we know, Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Etsy, and Walmart are currently marketplace giants. This year (2021), Amazon currently has 5.2 billion visits per month, with eBay as a runner-up with 1.7 billion visits. So, it really makes sense to sell through these channels if you want to reach a global market.
2. Know where you need to sell
Marketplace integration is a strategic process.
Before you can even think to meet new customers and widen your online reach, you need to remember what you’re trying to achieve when selling on multiple sales channels. There are thousands of other online sellers that are selling through the same channels and you, and you need to ensure that you’re the one ranking first. But, what’s the point of selling on multiple marketplaces if it doesn’t meet your goals or doesn’t align with the type of customers visiting those channels?
Here are four questions to ask yourself about selling on new channels:
- Is your aim to bring in more traffic to your web store?
- Do you want to engage shoppers who are active on these channels?
- Are you trying to target customers who don't know your business?
- Are you trying to target customers who abandoned shopping carts?
Knowing the answers will help you determine where your products best fit.
For instance, Amazon may be the leading marketplace in the world, but it might not be the right fit for you. Here’s why: if you want to grow your brand and improve your awareness, it might be harder to achieve that through Amazon.
Amazon is a general marketplace for electronics, books, and other items. Since it is a niche market specific to these items, it may clash with your goals. What's the point in selling a product in a market that doesn’t support your niche? Not to mention, you won't have much luck in sales if your audience isn’t active there.
It really is a double-edged sword.
eBay is another example. As a popular auction-style marketplace, general items won’t succeed there. But if you are selling collectible items that are rare and vintage, then it’s best suited as you’re entering a pool with the right audience.
These are just two examples to show you how marketplaces differ. Before you decided where to sell, do more research to understand what you’re trying to gain. A clear purpose will ensure you get the best out of the multiple sales channels.
3. Don’t forget other sales channels
While bigger marketplace platforms may not help you reach all your goals, there are other alternatives like social commerce and comparison shopping engines.
You can create a Facebook Shop which will integrate to your website and help you sell through your business's Facebook page. This is effective in ensuring a simplified process for your customers. If your social media platforms have a lot of customer engagement, then this may be a great place for you to push sales.
With comparison shopping engines such as Google shopping, you can reach price-conscious shoppers and help them lean towards your brand if you know you offer competitive prices. This is an effective way to drive traffic to your site and bring brand awareness, which might not have been possible through big marketplaces.
Each sales channel has its own pros and cons, but there is a channel for every brand! You just need to ensure you are selling in digital areas that make sense for your business and your objectives. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time, resources, and money. And sadly, you won’t reap the benefits of selling on these channels.
4. Centralize content in a PIM system
When you move from single channel to multichannel commerce, you should centralize your spreadsheet content. Truth be told, spreadsheets are not made for product databases and can sabotage your multichannel success. Why? Well, each channel has its own rules and regulations, and each channel will require its own product data to support the channel you're selling on. That sounds like a lot of admin, right? Yes, it is, and using spreadsheets as your data foundation means more days of administrative work and a higher chance of incorrect information.
A product information management (PIM) tool can help you manage SKUs, variations, high-quality images and videos, product descriptions, additional value-adding assets like videos, PDF downloadable guides, user manuals, and technical specifications like sizing, prices, weight, color, materials, and dimensions.
All this information is stored in one place, and you can easily syndicate your product data with various channels. The Plytix PIM solution makes marketplace integration easier, as it allows you to share tailored product content to all your sales channels. Once your content is centralized, you can use the Channel creator to build a product feed for a specific sales channel, with automatic updates.
5. Optimize your content
It’s one thing to be on various channels, but it’s another thing to be on the first page when a consumer searches for your product. Product information management isn't a once-off thing, especially if you want to stay on top of mind.
Customers care about product reviews, detailed descriptions, and high-quality visual assets, as it helps them make a confident purchasing decision. So, to achieve that, try and strive for data quality by using an organized catalog management system. This modern tool will ensure that your business can tweak, maintain, update and simplify product content syndication whenever you need to, avoiding any challenges that may hinder your success in a multichannel commerce world.
When your product content is up to date, you can reach people faster, get more sales and build a reputable brand. You’ll become a brand that customers trust regardless of where it is, be it through your web store or through a sales channel.
Winning at multichannel commerce means staying competitive and relevant. For more information on how to choose the best PIM for ecommerce, get in touch. Or, sign up with Plytix for FREE, and get a personalized demo on our PIM software.