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mageplaza.com

Shopify Multi Channel Selling: Tips to Start in 2024

Vinh Jacker | 03-15-2024

Shopify Multi Channel Selling: Tips to Start in 2024

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In retail, things change fast. If you don’t keep up, you’ll fall behind. This is especially true for stores that only sell on one website. While it might have worked in the past, sticking to just one platform now is like standing still while everyone else moves forward. Stores that don’t change risk getting left behind by competitors who are trying new things and reaching more customers.

As we head into 2024, it’s more important than ever for stores to sell on more than one website. That’s where multi-channel selling comes in. It’s a smart way for businesses to sell on different websites all at once.

In this post, we’ll delve into the concept of Shopify multichannel selling and explore practical steps to initiate and optimize a multichannel approach for your business. With this strategy, your business can not only survive but also do really well in today’s ever-changing retail world.

What is multi-channel selling?

What is multi channel selling

Multichannel selling refers to using multiple sales channels to provide goods and services to customers.

A multichannel selling approach may encompass conducting sales through various physical retail outlets, such as traditional stores and collective marketplaces such as farmers markets or craft fairs. Additionally, it may entail utilizing digital platforms, including e-commerce websites and online marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon.

Multichannel vs omnichannel

Multichannel selling, often confused with omnichannel retailing, shares the aspect of engaging with customers across various platforms.

  • Multichannel: Focus on the customer’s preferred channels
  • Omnichannel: Prioritize customer needs and consistency across different channels

Benefits and challenges of multichannel selling

Benefits

Small business owners adopt multichannel selling to broaden their customer base, enhance customer connections, and drive sales growth. Below are three key advantages of this strategy:

Meeting Customers’ Preferences

Consumer preferences vary based on factors like age, location, and shopping habits. Engaging customers through their preferred sales channels helps foster trust and satisfaction.

For instance, a business lacking a mobile-friendly online store risks missing out on customers who predominantly shop using mobile devices.

Enhancing the Customer Journey

Today’s consumers typically engage with multiple touchpoints across various channels before making a purchase decision. This journey may start with social media ads and include research on search engines or watching product reviews on platforms like YouTube. Consumers use tools like YouTube Video Summarizer to analyze lengthy product review videos and condense them into shorter summaries.

Maintaining a presence on multiple channels allows businesses to create more touch points along the customer journey, increasing opportunities for engagement and facilitating smoother checkout experiences.

Capitalizing on Third-Party Marketing Opportunities

Platforms like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay offer businesses access to a broad customer base, albeit with commissions. Similarly, retail partnerships enable businesses to showcase products to a ready-made audience, even though a portion of sales revenue goes to the retailer.

By embracing multichannel selling, small businesses can effectively target diverse customer segments, streamline the purchasing process, and leverage external marketing platforms for increased visibility and revenue.

Challenges

Challenges of multi-channel selling

While a multichannel selling strategy offers numerous benefits, it also presents several challenges that businesses must navigate:

Inventory Management

Maintaining a presence across multiple marketplaces requires effective inventory management to ensure product availability and timely order fulfillment. Also, coordinating inventory levels across channels can be complex, leading to challenges such as stockouts and conflicting order prioritization.

Account Management

Operating on multiple platforms necessitates maintaining relationships with various companies. Managing paperwork, compliance standards, and ever-changing terms of service can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Customer Experience Management

Distributing products through diverse retail stores and online platforms diminishes control over the customer experience. Poor customer service from third-party vendors can negatively impact brand reputation, regardless of fault.

Each channel demands attention from the customer service team, potentially leading to increased support workload and resource allocation.

Types of Sales Channels

When crafting a multichannel selling strategy, it’s essential to consider both physical and online spaces where businesses can connect with their target audiences. Here’s a breakdown of key channels to focus on:

Physical Spaces

Markets and Pop-up Stores

Utilize temporary sales channels like pop-up stores, local markets, craft fairs, street festivals, and trade events to engage directly with customers. Implement a point-of-sale (POS) system to synchronize physical orders with online sales, ensuring efficient inventory management.

Owned Retail Spaces

Establish brick-and-mortar stores to sell products directly to customers, facilitating vertical integration where the maker or manufacturer acts as the retailer.

Multi-brand Retail Stores

Distribute products through multi-brand brick-and-mortar stores like department stores or boutiques, either directly or through third-party distributors.

Online Spaces

Online spaces

Your Own Website

Establish an ecommerce platform as the primary digital sales channel, driving traffic to your online store and facilitating direct sales to customers.

Online Marketplaces

Leverage platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy to list, warehouse, and ship products to consumers, with the marketplace taking a share of the profit. Note marketplace-specific terms and conditions, including restrictions on certain items and limitations on branding and customer data collection.

Comparison Portals

Engage with comparison portals such as Google Shopping to showcase products and drive traffic to your website, where customers can make purchases. Utilize price comparison sites like Honey and Rakuten to highlight deals and savings opportunities to potential customers.

Mobile Marketplaces

Embrace mobile commerce by developing branded apps and leveraging niche marketplaces like Wish and Swappa to reach customers on their mobile devices.

Social Media

Utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for product promotion, brand amplification, and in-app selling using social selling tools. Take advantage of native shopping features on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, and collaborate with social media influencers to expand brand reach and drive sales.

By strategically leveraging a combination of physical and online sales channels, businesses can effectively engage with their target audiences, maximize sales opportunities, and enhance overall market presence and visibility.

Strategies for Successful Shopify Multi-Channel Selling

When delving into multichannel sales, gradual and steady growth is crucial for achieving success. Here are three recommendations to consider for multichannel selling:

Begin by focusing on your own platform before branching out

Your own store provides the greatest level of control over your sales process and customer experience. Once you’ve established efficient order fulfillment on your website, consider expanding to third-party marketplaces.

Aim for consistency in your branding across all channels

Consistent branding ensures that customers can anticipate uniform pricing, product quality, and customer service, regardless of where they make their purchase. While you may not have full control over the appearance of your presence on third-party platforms, concentrate on customizable features like product descriptions, pricing, and images to maintain consistency.

Only take on what you can manage effectively

Overextending to numerous marketplaces can lead to difficulties in order fulfillment and customer service. Although it might be tempting to list products on as many platforms as possible, it’s prudent to start with a manageable scope and expand gradually as you gain confidence in your capacity to handle additional channels.

Large platforms such as Amazon and Walmart offer access to vast customer bases but also have stringent requirements for order fulfillment that some small businesses may struggle to meet. Consider expanding to these platforms only after refining your order fulfillment processes on your own website.

Wrapping up

Multichannel selling enables you to cater to the preferences of modern consumers. The decision-making process leading to a purchase can be influenced by various factors such as online searches, recommendations from social media influencers, or experiencing a product firsthand in a physical retail store.

By embracing multichannel selling, you position yourself to capitalize on sales opportunities across these diverse channels. This versatility is why numerous small business owners view multichannel selling as a valuable endeavor despite the associated effort.

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    Jacker

    With over a decade of experience crafting innovative tech solutions for ecommerce businesses built on Magento, Jacker is the mastermind behind our secure and well-functioned extensions. With his expertise in building user-friendly interfaces and robust back-end systems, Mageplaza was able to deliver exceptional Magento solutions and services for over 122K+ customers around the world.



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