In order to maximize your reach as an online seller, one of the best strategies is to expand into additional online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart or Jet. The logic for this is straightforward. More marketplaces bring more eyes to your products, which bring more buyers.
According to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook, it is estimated that 230 million Americans will make an online purchase this year, spending a total of $474 billion. No longer is it enough to be just on one channel, there are many choices out there for people to buy online, and as a seller you want to be as many places as possible.
Why one channel is not enough
When traditional brick and mortar shopping was king as the only option for buying goods, most people stayed very loyal to their neighborhood markets. Now in the online world, although there is some level of brand loyalty to shopping destinations, there is also a greater ease to price shop between different marketplaces. If someone does not find a certain product or price on eBay they may go to Amazon, if not on Amazon, they may go to Walmart. Additionally, precisely because some people are loyal to certain marketplaces, having a presence on multiple marketplaces increases the potential pool of buyers for a product.
What tools are required for multichannel success
Selling across multiple online channels requires many moving parts to coordinate seamlessly. In order to ensure your internal processes are correct, and your customer base has an overall positive experience, the flow of information between all of the marketplaces and web stores is imperative. Therefore, it is essential to take into account these 5 key components:
Inventory Management – Maintaining proper inventory counts across all of your listings is critical. Overselling products and having to then cancel orders is a surefire way to cause negative feedback. In order to prevent these occurrences, it is best to have a central location to house all inventory and then send updated quantity counts out to your listings on multiple marketplaces. This creates a unified, central location with accurate quantity to then disperse to your listings – keeping all inventory organized and in one place is an essential component to multichannel success.
Order Management – Once you are selling on multiple online marketplaces, you will need a hub to pull in the orders and fulfill them as fast and efficiently as possible. If you are drop-shipping, then the order information needs to make its way to your vendors. This approach to selling online eliminates the cost of holding inventory altogether. When you have a drop-shipping agreement, you can directly transfer customer orders and shipment details to your manufacturer or wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to your customers. This eliminates the cost of keeping goods in your own warehouse, plus you get to save on upfront inventory costs and benefit from a positive cash flow cycle.
SKU Management – In order to keep your products organized, it is essential to have either an established SKU methodology, or a SKU alignment strategy for your listings across all of the online channels you are selling on. This gets a little tricky when dealing with multiple vendors who might use different product assignment codes. Ultimately, if you are able to align your SKU’s at the inception of creating the listings, that is a seller’s best case scenario. If this is not possible, you can use a multichannel marketplace platform to assist in grouping together goods. Ultimately, the end goal is to keep inventory counts aligned across all marketplaces, so SKU management is an important component to the be a successful online seller.
Listings Management – Managing and maintaining listings across your online channels will help maximize your sales. Proper management of everything from images, descriptions, bullet points, pricing and meta data is essential to online selling success. Consider using an online platform that integrates with marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and others as a means of managing your online listings.
Reviews Management: Customer feedback is a key component in driving listings sales conversions, as customers trust in a merchant will compel them to convert the sale. It’s proven that customers are more apt to buy from sellers that have higher customer satisfaction rankings and positive feedback. Trust is an enormous factor in online purchasing decisions, and it becomes the difference between customers adding inventory to their cart or not. In fact, 85% of consumers now say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If a potential buyer doesn’t fully trusty the seller, or know that they have been verified by their peers, then making the sale will be challenging, if not impossible.
Content Management – Content is king. Successful listings must have stellar images, clear and concise descriptions and must follow the listing and content requirements that are unique to each channel. When it comes to amassing content, a preferred method of listing to multiple channels is to utilize a platform to house all of the data necessary to expand your listings to additional channels. Instead of logging into each marketplace separately and redundantly entering data multiple times, this approach allows you to rely on one central location to pull together the necessary assets to fulfill the requirements for your listings. The content necessary involves everything from descriptions, product attributes to specific marketplace categorization and image URL’s.
In pursuing a multichannel eCommerce strategy, consider using a leading platform like Solid Commerce to manage inventory, listings, orders and other aspects of your online sales.