Friday, July 5, 2019

How to develop Multi Channel Retailing for Small Business?

If you work in the e-commerce world, you have undoubtedly come across "multi channel retailing," but what does this term really mean, and how does it apply to your business?

This is an issue that every online retailer and brand should consider as elementary as it may sound. In recent years, the trend has changed a lot— and there are significant implications for your business.

What is multi channel retailing — and how has it changed?

The term "multi channel retailing" is often defined as the practice of more than one sales channel making products available to consumers. It is most commonly used to describe the process of expanding to sell on a marketplace, comparison shopping engine, social media platform, or other online channels beyond an e-commerce website or brick and mortar stores.

However, in recent years, this standard definition has evolved a lot. The options for online selling do so as the e-commerce industry grows at a rapid pace.

"Multi" would be described more aptly as "myriad" these days.

Consider the massive growth of e-commerce markets to put it in perspective. The typical seller interested in multi channel retailing would begin by listing products on Amazon a couple of years ago. In some email marketing or paid search ads, the company may dabble and maybe venture to eBay. But now? The same seller would have to choose from over 100 marketplaces, dozens of essential advertising options and numerous fulfilment types.

Similar scenarios have taken place across shopping engines, mobile apps and even social media— all of which have expanded to accommodate consumers ' desires to browse and buy from any device at any time, irrespective of what else they might be doing.

Today's shoppers expect the moment they want it to get exactly what they want.

This means multi channel retailing is no longer simply a matter of making merchandise on more than one sales channel available for purchase. E-commerce companies will need to embrace a much wider range of marketing, selling, and fulfilling activities across multiple platforms to be successful in 2019.

This process may involve looking past local stock ads to embrace Amazon Advertising and Google Shopping for the retailer. For the manufacturer, this could mean branching out to open third-party selling accounts on eBay, Walmart, and other key marketplaces beyond first-party selling on Amazon.

Multi channel retailing can play out dozens of different ways, but the implications are always the same. Meeting the powerful consumers of today on their ever-evolving paths of buying means putting products in more prominent places. It means selecting the mediums and methods most suited to their needs and offering depth and breadth to the channels you select.

In other words: the higher your chances of landing loyalty and sales are, the more channels you learn to leverage.

And the more channels you're pursuing, the more challenges you're preparing for.

3 Common challenges for modern multi channel retailing -

There is a lot to consider, ranging from e-commerce marketplaces and social media advertising to comparing shopping engines and brick and mortar stores. The main thing to remember is this: everywhere are your consumers. Which means that you, too, should be.

It's easier said than done, of course— especially when you factor in multi channel retailing in the sheer magnitude of "everywhere." Today, more than 80% of consumers are checking different retail channels on their smartphones before making in-store purchases, and 88% are conducting online research before deciding where, when, and how to buy.

This tendency to compare prices, delivery options and more blur the line between the multi channel (using the right channels to ensure consumers are attracted to your products) and omnichannel (ensuring a fluid channel experience).

Before you can begin to identify your ideal mix of channels accurately and how best to leverage them for a seamless experience, preparing for the biggest challenges in each of the three key areas is important:

1. Marketing

In recent years, the options for e-commerce advertising have grown substantially. It is now crucial to success to find ways to expand your reach without overstretching your budget.

2. Sales

Each sales channel has its own set of listing requirements and specifications for a data feed, and these requirements are constantly changing. This makes the flow of customer and product data across numerous channels difficult to optimize and streamline.

3. Fulfilment Options

Now that sellers compete in the same-day shipping era, multi channel retailing success means mastering each and every order's best fulfilment option. This can be challenging especially for the seller who relies on a single carrier strategy for a long time.

When you first address these three core areas and build a multi channel retail strategy around them, identifying the right mix of channels and meeting consumers in the path to purchase becomes much easier at different stages.

9 essential retailing channels and choices to consider

For multi channel marketing that gets your products in front of the right consumers at the right time, sellers should get comfortable with:

1. Marketplace advertising

Remember: Consumers don't want hundreds of listings to scroll through. They want to quickly find a product or promotion. If you really want multi channel retailing to increase your visibility, marketplace advertising is a must. Amazon Advertising and eBay Promoted Listings are key channels in this area.

2. Social media advertising

Consumers of today are using social media to actively search for product information. 76% per cent buy products that they discover on social media, either through transactions in social commerce or by clicking on another channel of sales. Most of this activity is taking place on Facebook and Instagram, along with Pinterest Rich Pins and other social commerce channels.

3. Comparison shopping engines

It is important to leverage the search power when planning or expanding a multi channel strategy. With search increasingly being used for ideas and inspiration, it has become particularly important to compare shopping engines like Google and Bing Shopping.

Pro tip: The next step is to explore What is Google Shopping? Google Shopping, formerly Google Product Search, Google Products and Froogle, is a Google service invented by Craig Nevill-Manning which allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors.

When determining which sales channels hold the most potential for your products, be sure to explore:

4. e-commerce marketplaces

Amazon, eBay, Google, and Walmart are at the top of the list. These marketplaces lay the basis for multi channel retailing success. Consider your options to reach wider audiences and target niche buyers once you have a strong presence on these key channels.

5. Your mobile-friendly website

Now that we live in a mobile-first world, 45 per cent of users say that their mobile devices are rapidly becoming the most important tool for shopping. Yet there is still a tremendous lack of mobile experience for many retailers and brands. Your website should be fully optimized for mobile users as a mission control for any multi channel retailing strategy.

6. Brick and Mortar locations

While consumers conduct most product research online, many still prefer buying in-store. Even in digital-dominant categories like consumer electronics, 50% of shoppers say they prefer brick and mortar stores as their primary channel of sales.

Pro tip: For a truly seamless path to purchase across your online sales channels, retail partners and brick and mortar locations, use Where to Buy widgets.

When optimizing fulfilment to compete in the multi channel era of same-day shipping, consider different delivery methods:

7. Diversified carriers

For simplicity and ease, many sellers rely on one carrier or fulfilment option. But as fast, free shipping demand continues to skyrocket, access to competitive pricing is critical. If you choose to fulfil in-house orders, you can always have access to the fastest, most affordable delivery method for each multi channel order using a complete suite of shipping options.

8. Third-party logistics

If you are struggling to maintain control over inventory, orders and shipments across multiple retail channels, consider working with a logistics partner from a third party who can provide tools and infrastructure to automate e-commerce fulfilment.

9. Additional partnerships

As you expand into new channels, considering all available fulfilment options is important on an ongoing basis. Take time to understand the difference between Amazon's fulfilment and Seller Fulfilled Prime, carefully examine drop shipping options (What is drop shipping? Drop shipping is a retail fulfilment method where a store doesn't keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product.) and stay connected as it grows to your distribution network.

New channels bring new challenges

Lastly, as you assess options across marketing, selling and fulfilling, keep the following tips in mind:

1. Choosing the right (or wrong) channels

While expanding to each channel can be tempting, true success comes when you identify those that are most likely to resonate with your target consumers.

2. Understanding additional costs

Each expansion will come with its own set of expenses, from advertising budgets to listing fees to logistics costs. Plan for maximizing your profit margins accordingly.

3. Staying on top of logistics

Your product performance and customer data provide a treasure trove of insights that can be used to choose your ideal channel mix. To get the most important insights at a glance, use a robust e-commerce platform.


One of the most important steps for sellers to take in 2019 and beyond is to understand the new realm of multi channel retailing. With an explosion of channels in recent years, identifying which ones hold the most promise for your products is more important than ever. Expanding too far, too quickly can result in choosing channels that are inadequate for your consumers and unprofitable for you. But take time to scrutinize your options carefully, and retailing across multi channels can yield tremendous revenue rewards.

Contact us for devising & executing a rewarding multi channel retailing strategy for your business.

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