Whether you’re running an e-commerce business or growing a startup, implementing effective marketing and sales strategies is essential to staying ahead of the competition.
One of the best ways to increase revenue and build rapport with your customers, is by making it fast and simple for them to buy your products, whether that’s in-store or online. Beyond accessibility, customers also love having the ability to navigate between multiple channels. In fact, 82% of consumers begin researching the item or service they’re planning to buy before making an in-store purchase.
Increasingly, many people also prefer to interact with companies and brands via multiple channels. This can mean in-store interactions, engaging with apps or social media pages, or even watching a company’s marketing videos. Mobile phones are an increasingly powerful tool as well, as 62% of us use our smartphones to compare prices while shopping in-store.
One of the best ways to increase sales is by implementing a multi-channel strategy. This means utilizing several different sales platforms or websites. So selling your products on your website and Amazon, or Shopify and social media, or online and in-store. Multi-channel selling is the most effective way to ensure that people are able to purchase from your company no matter what their shopping preferences are. And using a multi-channel approach can improve sales because it allows you to cast a wider net; ensuring that you don’t isolate customers.
Some 50% of marketers meet or exceed their sales goals when utilizing multi-channel selling strategies, highlighting the effectiveness of a solid multi-channel strategy. These days, one sales channel is often just not enough to sustain your e-commerce business. Since the online world is constantly changing, with social media becoming an increasingly popular shopping platform, and with the rise of mobile payment options like Apple Pay, ensuring that you’re up-to-date on where and how you sell your products is essential.
How Multi-Channel Selling Can Benefit You
Whether you own a brick-and-mortar storefront or are solely an e-commerce business, multi-channel marketing and sales strategies can offer a number of benefits. Here’s a look at some now!
1. More Options, More Purchases
First up, multi-channel gives your people options. Multi-channel selling allows people to buy your product through their phone or computer, or at a physical retail location, if you have a brick-and-mortar storefront. This means that selling your products doesn’t have to only occur during typical business hours. The ability to make purchases on mobile devices or during non-traditional hours can make sure that when a customer is ready to buy your product, they can quickly complete a purchase regardless of what time of day it is. This can help prevent abandoned shopping carts as well, as consumers aren’t limited to when or where they can buy your product.
Having multiple online marketplaces increases your opportunities to drive sales. For instance, if you run an ad on Facebook, you can include a link or tag to buy the advertised product, which allows viewers to buy the product right then and there. Social media platforms like Instagram also have specialized features to make it easy to list and sell your products.
With more consumers making purchases via their smartphone, multi-channel selling provides consumers with various avenues through which to buy your product, thus simplifying their shopping experience. Apps like mobile wallets can make it quicker than ever to buy something online, which is why using mobile-friendly selling channels like Amazon, Facebook, and Shopify is a great idea.
Customers Can Share Their Purchases With Others
Free advertising! Another benefit of multiple sales channels is that your customers will be able to easily share their purchase or your products with others. If your product is on Facebook, users can share your post to their network, which can put your product on countless newsfeeds. Customers are also able to share reviews on public websites such as Amazon, which can improve your ranking in searches and encourage others to buy your product.
Optimizing multiple methods not only improves sales, but it also builds a stronger connection with your audience. Today, most of us are online, and frequently rely on digital channels in order to communicate with retailers. In fact, some 72% of customers prefer using a digital form of communication as opposed to verbal or written inquiries (no surprise there!). Creating multiple ways for people to connect and engage with your brand is a great way to ensure that your audience doesn’t miss out.
Multi-channel offers another important benefit as well; it lowers your risk. When it comes to sales, diversifying is almost always better than putting all of your eggs into one basket. If Amazon changes its policy one day, or Facebook freezes your account, or your website goes down, you won’t be left high and dry; you’ll still have your other platforms.
Improved Customer Service
Multiple sales channels can also enhance your customer experience. Your customers can easily contact you with any questions or concerns and share and read reviews of your products and services, giving them the information they need to go through with their purchases.
Tips for Getting Started With Multi-Channel Selling
Developing a new multi-channel selling strategy may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right approach, you’ll be up and selling in no time.
Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Update Your Website
While you might think that setting up a multi-channel selling structure may sound difficult, getting started is actually pretty simple. Your first step should be updating your website; making sure it’s up-to-date, sleek, fast, and optimized for mobile.
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a social media presence. Social media is one of the most powerful tools for creating successful multiple sales channels, and some 40% of merchants and 25% of business owners sell their products and services on social media websites like Facebook and Instagram.
2. Build Your Social Media Presence
If you don’t already have social media profiles for your e-commerce business, start with creating official pages for your business. Make sure you include your main website in your profile and fill out as much information as possible, including your location, email, phone number, and other relevant information.
Which networks should you use? It’s important to start by clearly defining your target market, as the average user on each social media site is different. While sites like Instagram have a stronger following among young people, Facebook covers a much wider age range. If you already have social media pages, make sure they’re updated and modern and try to add high-quality pictures of your products (with multiple angles). Great images are one of the best ways to increase sales. While you’re at it, include a high-quality video as well! It’s a great way to show shoppers what they’re buying, giving them confidence to purchase.
Also, take the time to familiarize yourself with the features that allow you to tag products in your posts and on your page. Building these links into your post can quickly boost sales by directly pointing consumers to the product page.
Once you’ve got the basics down, you can branch out, looking for other portals that your audience is interested in.
3. Consider an App
Apps are a great example of utilizing multiple sales channels, as they create an avenue for customers to communicate directly with your brand and complete purchases. For brick-and-mortar shops, apps can enhance the in-store experience by allowing a customer to check-in so they can quickly pick up an order. Apps can also allow users to create and share shopping lists, which can help improve sales, especially during the holidays.
4. Use Inventory Management Software
Order management for your multi-channel e-commerce business requires having accurate inventory tracking. Inventory management software can help automate the process, which can save time and ensure your numbers are always current. Using a pen and paper or an Excel document to track inventory can lead to increased errors, which is why software is a great way to help your business grow. In e-commerce, maintaining accurate inventory is absolutely essential, as running out of a product can ruin your relationship and reputation with customers.
Customers are more likely to share negative reviews than positive ones. This means that failing to change inventory levels can lead to unhappy customers and poor ratings on websites like Amazon, eBay, and Google. Multi-channel management software can also make the shipping and invoicing process automated, which further improves order accuracy and efficiency.
Some management software can also track your inventory across multiple platforms. So if you’re selling the same product on your website and Amazon, multi-channel management software will provide live updates of your current inventory on Amazon whenever your product sells on your website, and vice versa. This prevents customers from buying a sold-out product.
Software can also provide useful analytics, such as where your product is selling best. This information can offer detailed insight on how to best improve your e-commerce sales.
It’s also important to remember that each channel you sell on can even impact a different channel, meaning a Facebook ad can lead to a converted sale on your website or Shopify store.
The best tools today can drastically simplify your workload when going multi-channel.
For a look at our favorites, head over to Data Feed Automation today!
5. Focus On Customer Experience
Make sure that your multi-channel system is driven by what your customers want. If you notice that a channel isn’t getting results, don’t hesitate to revamp that channel or try a different approach. Not every sales channel is right for your target market. Focus on making sure that each channel works and integrates well and remember that customers will notice if your prices change between platforms. Having lower prices on certain sites isn’t necessarily bad, especially if those sites have lower seller fees. But setting different prices on each platform is probably not a good idea, as it can cause customers to question the quality of your product and the integrity of your brand.
Having channels that support digital communication, such as messaging or chat features, is another great way to enhance customer experience. An open line of communication with customers ensures that they have the ability to address any concerns with you before they leave negative feedback or have a bad experience.
6. Start Small
Before simply posting products on as many e-commerce websites as you can think of, instead, concentrate your efforts. Try to focus on one or two main platforms or portals first. Each platform has unique features that can take time to fully understand and master. When you’re new to using a multi-channel selling strategy, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. Take the time to learn about the site you’re posting on, such as the return policies, to ensure you’re not caught off guard. Some websites like eBay offer buyer protection and can force sellers to accept returns under certain circumstances.
Take the time to research which platform is most used by your target market. Amazon has the largest market share among e-commerce platforms, while Shopify is popular among younger generations and is growing rapidly. Make sure that your sales posts include accurate and quality images and descriptions. Using SEO terms in the title or description can also increase the search ranking on e-commerce websites, which can lead to increased sales and visibility.
Keep in mind too, that many sales platforms today also offer ways to manage listings so that you can update and revise your products based on new trends or updated SEO terms. Some platforms and channels may also provide things like inventory management, which can help save time and streamline your sales channels more effectively.
While many e-commerce sites offer paid ads, make sure you understand how to best optimize your ads before you launch an ad campaign. Always make sure your listing is free from grammar and spelling errors, as they can cause a customer to pass on an otherwise great product.
At the end of the day, multi-channel is the way forward for most businesses. But like most things in life, not all multi-channel strategies are created equal. Instead of casting a net that’s too wide, spreading yourself too thin, try to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the channels that you have before expanding. Lay the groundwork, take your time to research the platforms that are best for your niche, and then start slowly scaling. Don’t forget to test and retest your efforts and changes to ensure that what you’re doing is working, and to refine your strategies for optimal success.
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