Ecommerce has gone mainstream across the world, and online shoppers love to be spoilt for choice. The expectations of customers have turned into demands, and they want a great shopping experience—wherever they shop. Whether a brand website, marketplaces or social media, customers are looking for what suits them the best— be it the price, free and fast shipping, a customer-friendly returns policy, and much more.
Customers generally follow an omnichannel approach for making a purchase. For instance, if customers want to buy a pair of jeans, they conduct product research and price comparison across multiple platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and more. The next step may include checking the shipping fees and speed, reviews, modes of payments available, returns policy, and more on various sales channels. Finally, the purchase is made after considering all the available options.
This changing customer behaviour is compelling ecommerce brands to make their brand presence active on not one but multiple sales channels. But, most importantly, it is becoming essential to offer them the best customer experience on each and every sales channel.
Multichannel selling is indeed a great way to increase your customer base and accelerate your growth. However, selling on various platforms can create a lot of confusion and duplicacy of work—resulting in losing efficiency, increasing costs, and a bad reputation.
In this blog, you'll learn what is multichannel selling, why ecommerce brands should sell on multiple sales channels, the challenges of multichannel selling, and how can Eshopbox help ecommerce brands to sell on multiple sales channels.
Multichannel selling (also known as multichannel ecommerce) is when ecommerce brands sell their merchandise on more than one sales channel. These sales channels include:
Here are the various benefits of multiple ecommerce:
1. Expands reach and customer base
Selling on multiple sales channels can help you expand your reach by selling everywhere your customers shop and tap into the most extensive customer base.
2. Improves conversion rate
When you increase touchpoints with your customers, you can maximise sales opportunities and improve conversion rates.
3. Diversifies risk
Selling on multiple sales channels not only increases sales opportunities but also protects you against the risks of relying on a single sales channel for sale.
4. Gets brand exposure and credibility
With multichannel ecommerce, you can ensure high visibility of your products, get the necessary brand exposure, and establish a creditable brand image.
5. Enhances customer experience
By selling on multiple emerging and proven sales channels, you can show that you are attentive to customers' needs and shopping habits. Moreover, you can create a unified shopping experience for your customers by offering the utmost convenience and being available whenever they shop.
1. Managing multiple sales channels
When you sell on a single sales channel, it is fairly simple. You only have to log in, create product listings, process orders, fulfil them, and manage returns. In contrast, when you add more and more sales channels, you have to multiply your efforts. You have to create product listings for each channel manually, ensure fast and accurate order fulfilment, and manage returns for all the sales channels.
Such duplication of work and effort for each platform gets challenging for ecommerce brands and brings in scope for error and mismanagement.
2. Inventory management
If you think tracking and managing inventory is tough with one sales channel, wait until you start selling on more sales channels.
Updating your inventory is easier when you sell on a single sales channel. But, it quickly becomes very ineffective once you add more channels into the mix.
In multichannel selling, when you receive an order on one channel, you must update the inventory on every channel in real-time.
In multichannel selling, it can be difficult to forecast demand and estimate how much inventory you need for each channel. Moreover, less stock can lead to a quick stock-out, unhappy customers, and loss of potential sales. In comparison, having excess stock can take up valuable warehouse space and increase holding costs.
Moreover, in multichannel ecommerce, the risk of overselling also increases. For example, you receive several orders from various channels. During order processing, you realise that you don't have enough stock to fulfil all the orders. It can cause severe problems for your ecommerce brand, from losing a sale, a customer to your brand reputation. Worse of all, some sales channels like Amazon impose penalties for overselling.
It's essential to split your inventory across a network of fulfilment centres to reach your customers quickly and reduce shipping costs. Such a multi-warehousing strategy is simple to follow when you sell on one channel.
With more channels, inventory management can become trickier and easy to lose track of inventory across all the fulfilment centres.
3. Brand consistency
When it comes to multichannel selling, one of the biggest challenges most ecommerce brands face is keeping the brand image, message, logo, tone of voice, colour scheme and more consistent across different channels. On a single channel, it's easier to control your brand image. But when you start selling on multiple channels, it becomes difficult as different channels have different requirements, nuances, and best practices.
4. Customer experience
Creating an outstanding shopping experience for your customers is easy when you sell on a single channel. You can optimise your product page, provide world-class support, ensure fast shipping, make returns your advantage, and offer the best post-purchase experience. However, nurturing customer relationships can become more challenging when you are selling on more channels. For instance, it can be challenging to offer same shipping speed or manage returns of multiple sales channels.
Reporting is crucial to attaining ecommerce success. You need data-driven reports and insights to steer your ecommerce business in the right direction and make informed decisions. It is simple and easy to take out actionable insights with one sales channel. But collating and translating data from each sales channel is time-consuming and complicated. Moreover, it is possible to miss out on the holistic view of your business.
When you sell on one sales channel, you have to reconcile your payments according to one marketplace or your own brand website.
Different marketplaces have their own unique fee structures. Marketplaces deduct various fees before paying you for sales. These fees also vary from product to product. It becomes a herculean task to track various fees applied by all the marketplaces and reconcile them against the agreed fee structure.
Even if you sell on your website and use a payment gateway, the fee varies on the different modes of payments—debit card, credit card, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and more. All these modes have a different percentage fee that they charge ecommerce merchants when a purchase is made. Moreover, these charges vary from bank to bank, making it difficult to track and reconcile these payments.
Reconciliation becomes harder than ever if you're selling on various marketplaces and your brand website.
Eshopbox has 2-step integration with marketplaces and shopping carts. This means you can sell on your own website and various marketplaces using Eshopbox's pre-built shopping cart integrations or use custom integrations with developer-friendly APIs.
Moreover, Eshopbox provides a central login to manage products listings, orders and returns from a single actionable dashboard.
Eshopbox simplifies inventory management for multichannel selling for ecommerce brands in the following ways:
With Eshopbox, you can use the same inventory pool across multiple sales channels. You don't have to commit your inventory to specific marketplaces. For instance, you can sell on Amazon as well as other sales channels without committing inventory to Amazon alone and still maintain the Prime badge.
Eshopbox also syncs your inventory across all sales channels every 5 minutes, enabling you to relay accurate inventory levels in real-time. This means if there's a change in shared inventory, Eshopbox automatically updates inventory on all channels.
Eshopbox helps you track and maintain optimum inventory levels to avoid under-stocking and overstocking. Eshopbox also helps you restock inventory to prevent Out-of-Stock (OOS) by ensuring timely replenishment.
Eshopbox's actionable dashboard provides in-depth insights on your historical sales data, best-selling products, slow-moving products, returns, and more. This enables you to calculate your sell-through rate, predict your products' demand, and maintain necessary inventory levels to avoid overselling. Eshopbox also automates the inventory sync to prevent overselling.
Eshopbox traverses all the fulfilment centres and gives real-time insights into inventory location and volume.
Eshopbox enables you to extend your brand experience through packaging across all sales channels. While fulfilling orders for multiple sales channels, Eshopbox packs your products as per the requirements of every marketplace. This means you are always compliant with the packaging rules of all the marketplaces.
Moreover, you can set flexible packaging rules for using different packaging materials, highlighting your brand logo and adding marketing inserts such as samples, custom messages, gift cards, coupons, pamphlets and more. This will help you maintain a superior brand image by creating a great unboxing experience for your customers with custom packaging.
With Eshopbox, you can enhance the customer experience by delivering an exceptional post-purchase experience with a self-service customer portal:
With Eshopbox, you get access to the actionable dashboard, analytics, periodic reports and key metrics to gain visibility into your performance and make informed decisions.
Thus, Eshopbox integrates business intelligence into a single dashboard—helping you get a big picture of your business and glean actionable insights from the data.
Eshopbox enables you to keep track of your payments and fees with automated reconciliation across sales channels—Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Tata Cliq, and Shopify. This will help you to track the fees charged to you and the payment received from the service provider and identify:
Thus, eliminating the need for manually reconciling payments for each sales channel.
Selling on multiple sales channels may seem a little overwhelming in the beginning. Although, it will benefit not only you but also your customers. There are many challenges of multichannel ecommerce, but with some expert help and outsourcing your order fulfilment, you can truly embrace this revenue-boosting strategy and gain a significant share of the Indian ecommerce market.