Multichannel Selling | 3 mins read

Multichannel Selling- How to Get Started

multichannel selling how to get started
Chloe Henderson

By Chloe Henderson

Companies looking to expand their customer reach can use the multichannel selling strategy to delve into different marketplaces and increase brand exposure.

As an essential element of retail management, businesses must determine where and how to market their products to optimize multiple sources of sales and profits. By selling multichannel, retailers can provide products through e-commerce sites and physical stores, appealing to diverse demographics.

Why Businesses Should Begin Multichannel Selling

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Using the multichannel selling strategy allows companies to expose their products to more customers across several mediums, from e-commerce platforms to brick-and-mortar stores. As more buyers are reached, businesses enhance their potential for further sales.

Therefore, selling products across multiple channels presents companies with the opportunity to-

  • Gain New Customers
While some shoppers prefer brick-and-mortar stores, others strictly shop online, making it vital that businesses establish their presence on multiple channels. Bigcommerce revealed that 30% of online product searches begin on Google and 44% transfer to Amazon marketplace. Therefore, while loyal customers may go straight to an organization's site, it is important to promote the business on top search engines to attract new consumers.

  • Maximize Revenue
A study shows that if an eCommerce business sells its products on at least one external site in addition to their own, they can increase their revenue by nearly 38%. Promoting a brand on popular search engines and third-party platforms boosts the business's probability for more sales and generated revenue.

While companies do not have to immediately advertise on multiple channels, the more outlets are utilized, the more exposure they receive. Therefore, retailers should begin with one or two channels to learn how to optimize their exposure before increasing promotions.

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  • Reduce Risks
A retailer that sells products on one channel relies solely on the platform to generate revenue, promote products, and attract customers. However, the company also faces the risk of losing business if the platform malfunctions, shuts down, or decides to suspend their account.

For example, if a seller only retails from an Amazon account, they may temporarily or permanently go out of business if the site experiences an error or is deactivated. On the other hand, if the retailer uses the multichannel selling strategy, customers would still be able to buy their goods by redirecting to another distribution site. Therefore, companies can mitigate risks due to channel dependency by selling across multiple outlets.

  • Maximize the Value of Fixed Costs
Retailers have a list of fixed costs, from rent and management software to labor wages. While companies can't always reduce these expenses, they can maximize their value through multichannel selling. When businesses can increase their sales by using this strategy, they can take full advantage of the monthly fees that stay consistent regardless of generated revenue.

For example, a business renting a warehouse pays the same monthly fees regardless of whether it is full or empty. Therefore, as sales increase, they can stock up the warehouse and optimize its usage.

4 Major Marketplaces

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While there are hundreds of online marketplaces, businesses tend to focus on the influential platforms that have the ability to expose a company to millions of consumers. The four major online marketplaces include-

  • Amazon
A Feedvisor study disclosed that 89% of buyers said they are more likely to purchase items from Amazon Marketplace than any other e-commerce site. While Amazon can undoubtedly boost a company's traffic and exposure, the competition requires retailers to decrease their prices to attract customers. Therefore, retailers debating whether to sell through this channel should consider their pricing strategy and how using Amazon would affect their profit margins.

  • eBay
According to eBay, they have approximately 182 million users worldwide, 70% of which derive from the United States. eBay also has a unique take on e-commerce where customers can bid on products. However, sellers experience several fees that can add up to a significant expense if goods are not priced appropriately.

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  • Walmart
Nearly 90% of all Americans reside within a 15-mile radius of a Walmart, meaning the company serves more than 200 million people a week. While Walmart does have an e-commerce site, unlike the other marketplaces, its main focus is on the physical stores.

Therefore, it is more challenging to sell with Walmart than the other platforms, as they require a long track record of consistent sales, customer service, order fulfillment, and unique goods. However, businesses that distribute their products through this marketplace do not have to pay a monthly fee, only referral charges based on sales.

  • Etsy
In 2019 alone, Etsy housed 2.5 million sellers and serviced over 45 million buyers. However, the site is widely known for homemade, unique products rather than manufactured goods. Etsy, like eBay, charges sellers various fees, such as commission, listing, and credit card processing fees. Therefore, Etsy is ideal for a small business that still utilizes resources from home rather than through mass production.

5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Marketplace

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When deciding if and where to promote items, companies should consider several factors by asking-

1. Where do the items fit in?

There are different marketplaces that cater to specific products, depending on if they are homemade, electronic, or niche. Therefore, retailers need to research what channels their goods and services would excel on and which to avoid.

2. Does the business stand out from the competition?

Popular marketplaces are flooded with similar products, making it vital for retailers to offer unique goods that outshine the competition. Besides offering specialty items, they can stand out by providing lower prices, product bundles, or incentives. Otherwise, a retailer could get lost in the mix of similar sellers.

3. Are direct competitors selling in the same marketplace?

While it is crucial to sell across multiple channels, companies should occupy a space in marketplaces that their direct competitors engage in. Otherwise, competition can become the sole retailer for a specific product, leaving consumers unaware of alternatives.

4. Where does the clientele shop?

Finding where the target audience prefers to shop is essential to determining what marketplace is best for a company. For example, a retailer selling electronics would not reach customers through Etsy but would likely find success using Amazon. Without understanding how demographics shop, retailers can waste capital and effort establishing a foothold in the wrong market.

5. Are there associated fees?

Most channels charge some type of fee, from listing to sales commission. However, different marketplaces use different strategies. Therefore, retailers should ask what expenses their ideal platforms require to adequately price items and calculate profit margins. Otherwise, companies could potentially lose money even with steady sales.

Multichannel selling is an excellent strategy for retailers to gain exposure, expand their customer reach, and establish themselves within a market. However, companies need to conduct thorough research to determine what marketplaces are best for their brand and products.