The idea of multichannel selling is to cast a wide net to reach buyers wherever they shop. It’s not uncommon to find brands selling products on their own web storefront, as well as on eBay, Amazon, and other marketplaces. Multichannel retail is convenient for shoppers and lucrative for retailers.
Of course, with every good thing, there are also challenges. Whether you run a mom-and-pop online store selling unique handcrafted products, or a multi-warehouse business that processes thousands of orders a day, using multichannel selling comes with lots of opportunities, but also some difficulties.
In this post, we’ll discuss those challenges of multichannel selling and how to deal with them.
Challenge 1: Managing Multichannel Inventory Issues
Managing your product quantities across multiple channels is time-consuming and downright impossible without multiple resources. If you are busy fulfilling orders and sourcing new products, who is updating the sales channels with new product quantities when an order is placed? The last thing you want to happen is to run out of a product on your website and cancel various sales orders.
Mismanaged inventory results in underselling, which costs you sales, or overselling, which costs you customers. Both of these consequences hurt your brand’s image and can cause a marketplace to permanently suspend your account.
The good news is, there are a lot of software solution options for inventory management for multichannel sellers. Choose one that offers you real-time inventory updates across all channels.
Challenge 2: Staying Competitive Across Multiple Channels
It can be difficult to maintain consistency while being competitive with pricing. In some cases, you will sell the same exact product as 20 other sellers on Amazon. You may have to list products at a lower price on marketplaces such as Amazon than on your online store due to the competition. Plus, you may need to increase the price of products on an online store because it’s more expensive to market products.
To keep profit margin consistent across all sales channels, you will need to calculate the cost of goods sold for each channel. Once you understand the direct and indirect costs for each channel, you can price accordingly. However, pricing products differently creates inconsistency. This may cause shoppers to wonder why the product they want is $15 on your website, but only $10 on your eBay page.
So, how do you combat this challenge? Spend some time testing. A/B test prices across different channels and determine how it affects your conversion rate. Do you sell more of a specific item when it is listed at a higher or lower price than on your online store? When are you selling the highest quantity of an item? Are you still earning a good profit?
Answering these questions will help you find the perfect prices for each channel.
Challenge 3: Determining Multichannel Marketing Strategies
Marketing is a key aspect of ecommerce success. Selling on multiple channels means you have to determine the strategy that works best for each channel. For example, it may seem like a good idea to lead potential buyers to your website rather than Amazon or eBay listings to prevent incurring marketplace fees. Why spend money on advertising that will only lead to a loss in part of your profit?
But, think about what Amazon can offer: The Buy Box. If you want to win the Amazon Buy Box, which means more sales, then you have to earn a significant amount of positive reviews.
Winning the Buy Box requires a marketing strategy to get shoppers to your Amazon listings to increase the chances of conversions, and hopefully, positive reviews. That’s how to establish yourself as a competitive Amazon seller.
Marketing successfully across multiple sales channels comes down to seeing the big picture. While it’s important to keep your eye on the quick sale, it’s also important to plan long-term strategies that will bring even bigger successes in the future.
Multichannel Selling is Worth It – When It’s Done Right
The opportunities with multichannel selling far outweigh any challenges. When you learn how to anticipate the drawbacks you may encounter, and know how to deal with them, you’ll find that selling across several channels can bring unlimited success.
Ecomdash is an inventory and order management software for online retailers. They focus on providing small to medium-sized businesses with actionable tips and strategies for building a lucrative ecommerce business.