7 Keys to a Successful Multichannel Business

7 Keys to a Successful Multichannel Business

Learn the secrets to a profitable, stress-free multi-channel business with these seven key solutions.

As online opportunities broaden and consumer buying habits evolve, it’s clear multi-channel selling is the future.

In the U.S. alone, multi-channel eCommerce sales hit $351.23 billion in 2020 and are forecasted to reach $575.62 billion in 2023. And with 50% of online shopping searches starting on marketplaces, expanding to multi-channel selling is an obvious move to make.

However, running a multi-channel business productively involves an elaborate schema, from sales and marketing to labeling and shipping.

Fear not; in this post, we’ll dive into what multi-channel selling is all about. We’ll also show you what to look out for and the steps to take to position your business for multi-channel success.

How does multi-channel selling work? 

Multi-channel selling is the sale of goods from a business via different channels. The business can be solely online or a mix of eCommerce platforms and physical stores. 

You list your products on various sales channels or in store and sell them simultaneously, with each channel working in tandem. For example, someone buys online from your website and collects their order in a physical store. 

7 Keys to a fast-paced multi-channel business

7 Keys to a fast-paced multi-channel business

1) A unified marketing strategy 

According to marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant, who coined the philosophy known as the “Rule of Seven,” it takes seven “touches” from a brand within 18 months for a person to make a purchase. This is the effort required to enter a potential buyer’s consciousness.

With that investment in mind, you need multiple touch points to accommodate the complex paths to purchase that consumers take. This way, if you fail to convert one channel (like your website), the extra visibility can help you close the sale on others.

So, raise brand awareness across your channels through branding and make your company recognizable. You can do this by increasing your marketing activities to give the impression of your brand being everywhere. Some strategies and tactics you can execute include:

  • Retargeting and remarketing 
  • Public relations opportunities
  • Social media marketing (tied in with any social stores you have)
  • In-person events to meet your target audience and reward loyal customers (e.g., pop-up stores)

2) Handpicked sales channels

Your platform choices can make or break your plans for multi-channel selling. Each channel will have unique rules, requirements, and set-up and operation costs.

Take your time with your choice. Study your target customer, competitors, and market trends, examine your sales platform options thoroughly, and follow the data. 

Also, avoid going overboard in the beginning. Pick two to three channels and master them first before adding others. This prevents you from spreading your resources too thin and lets you maximize results.

Tip: It’s best to start small if you have a large product portfolio. List your best-selling collections first and assess the traffic and conversions.

3) Unique and optimized listings

When you have many products, it can be tempting to copy and paste your product descriptions, photos, and videos across platforms and consider it done, but it’s not an exact translation. Each sales platform has its own characteristics and benefits to harness.

For best results, research how to present content assets on each platform you sell on so it appears native, observes the sales platform’s rules, and satisfies shoppers’ expectations. 

As a concrete example, on Etsy, you can incorporate more lifestyle images to bring your product to life and provide inspiration. On eBay though, shoppers are more accustomed to high-quality, feature-focused images with simple backgrounds.

4) A data-driven approach to inventory management

When you sell multi-channel, orders can flood in from various sales points. This makes data-backed inventory management critical because it reveals your store’s obligations and should help you strategize for both the present and future.

To have enough inventory to handle every order without overstocking, you’ll need to feed in live data from your sales channels and use it alongside past trend data to forecast demand.

This approach will help you manage stock flow dynamically so you have goods in the right quantities and in the best locations to service demand.

AI-backed supply chain management solutions, inventory forecasting software, warehouse management solutions, and transport management software are just a few of the tools you need to gain a 360-degree view of your eCommerce business’s inventory. Together, the right solutions will help you:

  • Learn your target customers’ shopping habits
  • Predict seasonality
  • Calculate your inventory turnover rate to establish adequate stock buffers and replenishment plans 
  • Understand sales demand on every platform in your ecosystem
  • Avoid stockouts and overstocks
  • Meet demand efficiently
  • Pinpoint where goods are in your supply chain
  • Synchronize sales and marketing initiatives with available or incoming stock
  • Map timelines for the movement of goods within your supply chain

5) A fast and reliable multi-channel fulfillment service

Many brands struggle with complex fulfillment setups and strategies. But an efficient fulfillment service can smooth your path forward. Your ideal fulfillment provider should be:

  • Well versed in the products you sell as well as multi-channel fulfillment, with a deep understanding of the different requirements each has.
  • KPI-focused. For example, on Amazon, time shipment and error-/damage-free orders are imperative for success on the platform, so your fulfillment service would need to monitor these metrics closely.
  • Able to handle your fulfillment from end to end and across platforms to ensure speedy fulfillment and consistent service for each store.
  • Flexible, allowing you to scale services up or down per channel in line with demand.
  • Fairly and transparently priced. The last thing you want is a nasty surprise on your monthly invoice. So, find a provider that’ll itemize every service up front and let you know how much it’ll cost before work starts. 
  • Well connected in the fulfillment industry. It's cost-effective to pool stock and serve all your channels from this single source. For this though, you need access to storage in your key selling locations and reliable transportation and order carriers.
  • Equipped with warehouse space in key locations so you can ship goods to and from hubs and to customers fast, no matter what platform they ordered from. So, a fulfillment provider with an expansive warehouse and transportation network will be your best bet.

6) A healthy supply chain

Having a healthy supply chain mitigates risk, moves goods smoothly, and, most importantly, keeps customers happy.

It all starts with your suppliers and manufacturers: You need reliable suppliers and manufacturers in multiple locations. Create first-, second-, and third-line options for your suppliers in case of unexpected issues. Ideally, you’ll have at least one local to or near your customer so you can still fulfill goods on time if there are delays.

No matter where they’re based, develop regular communication with your suppliers and manufacturers so you can spot and resolve any issues quickly. Evaluate your manufacturer’s responsiveness, performance, and product quality levels regularly, and don’t be afraid to replace those who repeatedly fall short.

Another way to improve your supply chain is to document and standardize product requirements so everyone is on the same page about company expectations. To start, focus on areas like product materials, assembly requirements, item upgrades, and packaging, then expand from there.

Tip: Always have goods at sea or at some step in the manufacturing process and set buffers so you can access products quicker.

7) Incentives to keep customers coming back

Retention is the name of the game when you sell multi-channel, especially since it’s five times cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to secure a new one. So, make your existing customers feel special and eager to return through no-brainer offers. Here are some initiatives you can launch to bring shoppers back again and again:

  • Create an unforgettable buyer experience from start to finish
  • Implement a rewards or loyalty program
  • Provide a stress-free returns process
  • Host platform-specific deals, promotions, exclusive bundles, and competitions in rotation
  • Produce resources to help buyers get the most out of your products

The X factor to differentiate your business

The X factor to differentiate your business

Running a multi-channel business is a fantastic opportunity to spread your brand far and wide. But, while the extra sales, increased access to target customers, and brand-building opportunities are great, many sellers stumble over initiatives for long-term success.

You can sow your own seeds of achievement today: Develop a data-backed approach to run your business and remain agile, ready to adapt to your customer data and market trends. Also, search for a fulfillment service that can give your brand the care and attention it needs to wow shoppers as you scale. Implement the tips, tricks, and tools we’ve shared, and soon, your multi-channel business will thrive. 

About the Author

Rachel Go is the marketing director of MyFBAPrep, an eCommerce warehouse network for Amazon aggregators, enterprise brands, and top Amazon sellers. Operating a global network of more than 100 warehouses and 85 million square feet of warehousing space, MyFBAPrep offers a full suite of 3PL services, including Amazon wholesale and private label, direct-to-consumer (DTC) fulfillment, and B2B retail. Powered by their SaaS technology platform, Preptopia™, sellers gain access to unified billing, analytics, business intelligence reporting tools, and real-time inventory updates across multiple warehouses in the network.

The company provides FBA Prep automation, modern robotics item picking, and a dedicated account management team. Based in Coral Springs, Florida, MyFBAPrep moves over $1 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) and processes over 10 million units annually.

April 18, 2024
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when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries
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