There’s a point in the journey of every online retailer when they start to explore the possibility of selling their goods outside their own website. They may look to online giants like Amazon or Walmart to help them.
By opening up these additional channels for customers to buy their products, these eCommerce brands are branching out into the world of multichannel commerce. However, as sales begin to increase, this may also mean a lot more work for the retailer.
According to one survey, 46.7% of all searches begin on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. This statistic is even more impressive when you consider that only 35% of searches begin on Google.
Your brand’s presence on these kinds of channels is an important way to reach potential customers where they are and spread the word about your product. This is why more and more retailers are choosing to pursue multichannel eCommerce strategies.
What exactly is multichannel eCommerce, and what can it do for smaller online retailers? Let’s dive into all the details about multichannel eCommerce.
What Is Multichannel eCommerce?
Multichannel eCommerce refers to the concept of selling products in more than one place online. One of the major benefits of multichannel selling is that it gives consumers a choice as to how and where they interact with a brand on the web.
Today, multichannel eCommerce means selling through a variety of channels beyond a company-owned website. This includes social media, mobile, and other platforms and extends to popular sites such as Amazon and Walmart as well as social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, which have all recently implemented shopping features.
Multichannel eCommerce is quickly becoming the norm as online consumers increasingly expect to shop from wherever they are online.
The goal of this strategy? To sell more products. It’s a simple concept: If your products are available for purchase in more places, you can sell more products to more consumers. Multichannel eCommerce is successful because it usually means selling your products in a place where your target audience typically shops.
Multichannel eCommerce appeals to different customers in different ways. Some shoppers like to purchase through Amazon because they appreciate Prime shipping benefits. Others like to purchase directly from the retailer’s website because they feel they are doing more to support the business itself, in an online version of supporting small or local businesses.
Through multichannel eCommerce, online retailers can meet their target audience on the platform they prefer.
The Benefits of Multichannel Selling
Multichannel selling opportunities are, of course, a great way to meet customers where they are while giving merchants the power to develop and manage relationships in all kinds of channels customers visit. But multichannel eCommerce does more than just help reach customers via new platforms. Through multichannel selling, retailers can also enjoy benefits like:
- Establishing a unified brand experience. Online brands can give customers a consistent experience across platforms to respond to customers’ needs efficiently, meet the customers’ expectations, and increase customer engagement.
- Build their customer base. Some customers prefer to shop through social media or a large marketplace, while others like to go right to the source and purchase via the brand’s website. Multichannel eCommerce allows brands to strategically place their products in the path of customers who are looking for a solution just like theirs, no matter how the customers are shopping. This helps to boost sales, increase exposure, and develop customer reach.
- Hone in on select target markets. Not all target customers shop in the same way. Multichannel selling gives online retailers the ability to focus on select markets based on how they shop. They can even create targeted, customized offers like coupons or inbound links to inspire customers to make a purchase. This also allows retailers to track their progress for each channel individually.
- Diversify risk. What happens if your website goes down and customers can’t make a purchase? Multichannel selling shields merchants from having to rely on just one sales method. This means that if an online merchant account is suspended, the brand may not take as much of a financial hit.
- Test new markets without the risk. For brands that are considering reaching new regions or new countries, they can test the waters by selling on marketplaces like eBay or Amazon to see if it’s worth pouring more time and energy into tapping into these new markets.
- Boost customer perception and brand reputation. Being available through both emerging and proven channels is a great way for brands to demonstrate that they are forward-thinking and that they understand customers’ needs and purchasing habits. It shows that a brand is flexible and credible when they sell via multiple channels.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, in particular, can benefit from multichannel selling. For example, DTB brands that sell via Amazon are tapping into a strong market for new buyers. In fact, 66% of new product searches begin on Amazon today. Only 20% start on search engines, and a mere 4% start looking for a new product on a brand website.
If a DTC seller is only selling on their website, they are missing the potential to reach exponentially more customers through multichannel selling online.
Multichannel eCommerce also gets online brands in front of the same consumers multiple times. Remember, people often need to see an offer 7 to 10 times before they are ready to take action or buy a product. Customers who are at different stages in their buying cycle will be more likely to see a brand’s product when they are ready to make a purchase.
Comparing Multichannel and Omnichannel eCommerce
While at first, multichannel and omnichannel eCommerce may appear similar, there are distinct differences between the two strategies.
Multichannel selling is about selling products via multiple sales channels. Only selling from a brand website is not multichannel selling, but when a brand sells on their website, a mobile-enabled site, a Facebook Shop, Amazon Marketplace, and more, they are using a multichannel approach. Multichannel selling is all about reaching potential customers on two or more sales channels, which can be connected or not.
Omnichannel eCommerce: A Division of Multichannel eCommerce
Omnichannel eCommerce is about taking multichannel selling to the next level, connecting every way a buyer interacts with a brand into one combined user experience, including online, mobile app, email, and marketplace experiences.
To make this seamless user experience happen, sellers must be able to tie every customer’s interaction with the brand into one central data hub, creating a customer-centric approach.
A True Multichannel Partner
There’s more to OceanX’s modern fulfillment solutions than just the cutting-edge technology we use to support our clients. We also understand modern eCommerce and know that multichannel selling is the best way to reach your customers. Multichannel selling is a fabulous opportunity to expand, but it can mean more work too. OceanX is a committed 3PL partner who will take on the additional orders without headaches or stress, so you can fulfill orders quickly, no matter the channel.
Our solutions are designed to help you sell across platforms and marketplaces to connect with your target audience wherever they are. This includes services like Amazon 3P, Amazon FBM, and Seller-Fulfilled Prime. Plus, when you’re ready to take your brand into brick-and-mortar stores, our operations also extend to omnichannel fulfillment and B2B sales, including kitting services.
Looking for additional information to streamline multichannel operations? Watch this video of our client, OSEA Malibu:
OSEA Malibu CEO Shares Tips to Achieve Omnichannel Success from OceanX on Vimeo.
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