Today, consumers are driven by convenience. The faster, cheaper, and easier they can access the products they want, the better. Thus, in the competitive sport of retail, adding sales channels to build brand awareness and increase accessibility for consumers is a strategic step forward. The numbers speak for themselves.
Our recent data report revealed that small to medium-sized retailers who sell through a branded shopping cart site (like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Bigcommerce) make 38% more revenue by expanding to sell on a single marketplace (like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy). And simply adding a second marketplace can grow retailers’ revenue by an estimated 120%.
Overall, retailers who sell on two marketplaces see 190% more in revenue than those who only sell on a single marketplace.
While it’s clear from these numbers that multichannel selling is a revenue-driver for retailers, adding multiple sales channels also means adding complexity and new tasks to manage.
Here are three tips for taming this complexity while increasing sales across multiple channels:
If you already sell on one of the major commerce platforms (like Amazon, eBay, or Shopify) and are looking to grow your business, you may be thinking it is time to add another sales channel.
Increasing sales by adding two, three, or even 10 different channels sounds great, in theory. However, to make sure your new channels are successful, you will need to implement systems to track inventory, orders, customers, and supplier information accurately and in real time across all those channels. This information must be simple to access and provide a unified view of the business. Time spent organizing information now will mean less frustration down the road. A good system running behind the scenes will allow employees to focus on growing sales, product design, marketing efforts, and anything else besides counting (and potentially re-counting) inventory.
Once orders come in from different channels, quantifiable data gathered from multichannel sales will become very important. However, sales reporting and order analytics can be a drag when the information is located in several places. Retailers should find the best reporting tools that integrate sales channel data into one location so all team members have the same information. Having access to this type of data gives owners the power to make smarter purchasing decisions and avoid communication breakdowns among staff and suppliers.
Leveraging sales and order tracking tools while combining sales and web data with Google Analytics will also allow retailers to see how product views compare to actual sales. A large discrepancy between the number of product page visits and the number of times that product is purchased, can be identified and addressed quickly with the support of proper data and reporting.
Once the smartest systems are in place to track product performance, customer behavior, and order history, retailers should perform tests to optimize the store’s online presence and product listings. Everything from photography to product descriptions can be altered to increase conversion rates. Be aware that what works on one channel might not work as well on another. Each channel may perform differently, so focus on testing a few key elements per channel and avoid over-testing multiple items at once.
Reporting and testing will certainly help increase sales and enable a better managed retail business. However, quantitative data only goes so far. To get a well-rounded perspective of business operations and areas of opportunity, retailers should be in touch with customers. By sending out a customer survey or other follow up after each completed transaction that asks for a satisfaction rating, retailers can gain important insights on how to improve customer experience.
Using an email-marketing platform such as Emma or MailChimp can be an easy way to contact customers quickly and efficiently. Customizing content using key characteristics like preferred channel (Amazon vs. in-store), products purchased, or the frequency of purchase, merchants can enhance relationships across all their sales channels. Once customer satisfaction and preference data has been collected, this information can be shared with merchandisers, sales reps and other team members to identify additional opportunities to drive sales.
The more knowledge a retailer has about a shopper’s behavior and preferences, the easier it is to customize the consumer experience to increase loyalty and social sharing of products.