Embrace the Multichannel Way: How to Transition from Single Channel Seller to Multichannel Merchant

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Struggling to compete with other sellers in your niche? With so many brands and stores embracing an omnichannel strategy, you must diversify to keep up with the competition. Embrace the power of multichannel selling to grow your business and increase conversion rates. Today’s customers expect everything on-demand, which influences the way they shop, and therefore how we should approach selling to them.

How can you learn to embrace the multichannel way of selling and transition from single channel seller to multichannel merchant?

What is multichannel selling?

Simply put, multichannel selling means using multiple platforms to either reach customers or sell products. This could be through your own online store, a marketplace, a traditional brick-and-mortar store or through social media. It’s an effective way to expand your company’s reach and visibility. Embracing a multichannel approach can be achieved in a few simple steps.

Remember, incorporating another channel into your business strategy will not always call for the same approach. You may need to adapt and change your sales strategy to work with the new channel and its customers.

Make sure you are ready for multichannel selling

I know it can be tempting to jump into multichannel avenues straight away, but first, you need to establish that it’s the right choice (and time) for your business. Launching on numerous different channels without doing your research will not yield the best results.

  • It takes time. You need time to figure out what works, what doesn’t and how to approach every platform individually. Bear in mind that they are all different beasts, with different requirements
  • Know your audience, or get to know them if you don’t already. They will be the key to deciding which channel to embrace next. Use trends, surveys and analytics to find out as much as you can about your customer base and discover the next avenue to tackle

Pick your channel

Multichannel selling opens up a sea of opportunities, with lots of new customers to target. Find the channels that will be suitable for your products, your brand and your customers.

  • If you are selling clothes or visual items then using social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest will help to make instant impressions on potential customers
  • Create a solid business strategy for your new channel. Ensure that you implement an all-bases-covered marketing strategy to make sure customers find you
  • Use online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy to list your products. They have high visibility due to their large audiences, and are good for generating instant traffic
  • Open your own online store. There are plenty of good ecommerce platforms that make setting up your online store simple and affordable, while allowing you to achieve higher profit margins per sale
  • Social media is fast becoming a great place to shop. Using social media, companies are able to reach a huge percentage of their target market with a fraction of the price

Get ready to scale

When you launch your new channel it’s important to scale at a steady rate. Sell too little you will end up with lots of stock. Make lots of sales all at once, and you may not have enough stock to fulfill orders. It’s a tricky balance to get right if it’s your first time using a new channel, and it’s the reason many sellers opt to work with a dropshipping supplier. Make sure you address the following areas to scale effectively:

  • Customer service – Is your customer service team able to cope with the influx of new inquiries from existing and new channels? Make changes accordingly so that customer service doesn’t suffer
  • Order fulfilment – When you embrace multichannel selling, you may need to upscale your order fulfilment process. Adapt to find a way that works for all channels
  • Inventory – Do you have enough stock to fulfil orders from multiple channels? Rapid sales growth can mean stocking certain items and sourcing items from other places for a faster turnaround. Consider dropshipping to get orders out the door faster and meet customer demand

Maintain consistency

Once you take on new channels, it’s important to remain consistent, otherwise it can dilute your brand and perceived trustworthiness (and trust is key). Without an integrated inventory or consistent pricing, fulfilment can also become tricky for your team. Make sure everyone has access to up-to-date product and company information to ensure that your store runs seamlessly on all channels.

  • Keep pricing the same on all channels. With so many different products on different platforms, adopt consistent pricing to cut out any confusion and make it easier to manage and track. Keep pricing consistent on all platforms so you don’t lose profit on one channel
  • Inventory management system – It’s important to keep inventory data consistent for all channels you are using to sell. By integrating your inventory and supply data, you can keep track of all of your sales in one place
  • Multichannel software – This is a great way to integrate all your software so that everyone in your team can look at the same document for information about stock. Keeping everything in one place will cut out time and keep everyone up-to-date on what is happening in the company

Make sure you are ready to tackle another channel, because it will be counterproductive to focus on a second channel when your first one is not 100%. Do not spread yourself and your team too thin, because it can affect sales and be an unproductive use of time.

The world of eCommerce has blossomed, creating lots of opportunities to embrace multichannel selling. Selling online allows merchants to reach a global market, either standalone or in addition to other channels like a brick-and-mortar store, pop-up store or social media. Why not see how far your store can grow?

What will be your next selling channel? Let me know in the comments below.


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Patrick Foster

Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer. I’m currently writing on EcommerceTips.org where I share engaging ecommerce content for entrepreneurs and business owners. You can follow me on Twitter here, or add me on LinkedIn.


 

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