Is having a single channel sales strategy limiting your growth? (2022)

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Most businesses start their online journey by selling through online marketplaces – simply because it doesn’t require setting up a dedicated website or a social media page to promote the business. 

The idea is to simply piggyback on the traffic that the marketplace gets to make sales. 

But what if we told you that being on just one platform is actually limiting your sales and business growth? 

And not having a website for your brand is like not laying a strong foundation for your business? 

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to the concept of ecommerce multichannel sales strategy and why you need to move beyond living on marketplaces alone. 

  • What is multichannel selling? 
  • Why is multichannel selling? 
  • Types of ecommerce sales channels 
  • The foundation of multichannel sales (your website) 
  • How to choose the right sales channels? 
  • Managing multi channel sales (integrating with your website) 
  • People also asked 

Multichannel selling simply refers to the process of setting up multiple digital touchpoints for your target audience to make purchases from your brand. So apart from your online storefront, this includes listing your products and services in marketplaces, social media platforms and the search engines – basically, anywhere that your target audience potentially is. 

Why is multi-channel selling important? 

TLDR; every consumer is different and they may choose a different path to interact with your business. 

Multichannel selling may look like a lot of effort, but let’s take a look at some of the reasons leading brands use this sales strategy to grow their business. 

1. More channels, more reach 

An average internet user is active on at least 2 social media platforms and at least a few marketplaces to make daily purchases. By being active on more channels, you stand a higher chance to reach your target audience where they are the most active. Instead of waiting for them to discover your storefront, you present your brand and its products to them where they are actively engaging with the platform. 

2. Consumer purchase behavior is evolving 

Consumers moved from making purchases at brick and mortar stores to online sites. But with social media and the digital landscape increasing, you can see them choose to interact with brands in different ways. 

It was found that over 66% of online shoppers rely on more than one sales channel to make a purchase. 

3. Multichannel sales increase revenue 

When you’re active on your consumer’s channel of preference, they become more likely to convert on the offers you make. 

A study by Shopify also found that multichannel selling and marketing can help increase revenue by 38%, 120% and 190% with each additional channel. 

4. Consumers seek social proof 

A survey by DigitalCommerce 360 found that about 65% of consumers are comfortable purchasing from third-party sellers if they were active on known marketplaces and verified platforms. 

In the age of ever-increasing online fraud, a multichannel presence also acts as social proof for new businesses. 

Simply put, the crux of a multichannel sales strategy is about meeting consumers where they’re at to offer a more seamless shopping experience. 

But before you go into listing your business on different platforms, let’s take a quick look at the types of sales channels brands are making use of. 

Types of ecommerce sales channels 

1. Your website 

The very first sales channel for an online business should be their own website. An online store is an essential channel for all kinds of businesses, because it gives your brand more legitimacy in the eyes of the consumer. 

Additionally, it also gives you more control over how you present your brand to the consumers, the details of the products you sell and the overall buying journey. It also gives you an opportunity to build your own consumer base with the ability to create email lists, capture phone numbers and so on. 

Additional reads: 

2. Social media channels 

Studies have found that about 49% of consumers in India purchase items on social media. This only goes to say how a majority of your target audience are more likely to make a purchase from your brand, if you sell on social media. 

Come to think of it, social media has become our go-to channel to discover new products, find inspiration and connect with businesses. 

From Facebook Shops to Shoppable Instagram posts, we’re now seeing Indian brands actively use the social commerce strategy to boost their sales. 

Additional reads: 

3. Online marketplaces 

While it may seem like a compromise on the control you have over your brand, marketplaces are great sales channels for new businesses. They’re targeted at addressing the pre-purchase concerns of consumers who are in the consideration and decision making stages – they have a high purchase intent, but they’re exploring the brands they can buy from. 

The simplest way to explore all the options available to them are online marketplaces that bring together products from different brands. 

Think about the last time you chose to search for a dress on Myntra or Amazon!  

Additional reads: 

4. Comparison shopping engines 

Another sales channel that most businesses tend to not pay attention to, but should, are comparison websites. 

Online shoppers are becoming more conscious about the purchases they make. They’re not just looking at the look and feel of a brand, but also customer reviews and testimonials, loyalty programs, deals and discounts available, shipping and delivery services and a host of other things. 

This is where they tend to use comparison shopping engines like Google Shopping, PriceDekho and others. 

Additional reads: 

While there are a number of sales channels that you can list your products on, the trick is to get started with the one that gives you more control over your brand

The foundation of multichannel sales strategy – Your website   

When you see a new brand launch, you’re more likely to discover it on either social media or online marketplaces like Amazon. 

But as a consumer, you’re targeted by an average of 5000 ads every day on social media, and online marketplaces list out at least a hundred products for every search you make – so do you really remember the brand you saw last week? 

The chances are very low – no matter how good your products and deals were. 

That’s where the importance of starting multichannel sales from ‘your’ website comes into play. 

So if you’ve been making searches for ‘how to sell on Amazon’, read on. 

Online store vs Online marketplaces  

Parameter 

Online marketplaces 

Online store 

Take to market time and product listing 

Marketplaces take time to set up and get approvals on every listing.  

No approvals required; product listing is in your control. 

Commision/ fees 

Charge a commission on every sale and fees may vary from site to site. 

You don’t pay commissions; every sale adds to your revenue. 

Control over branding 

Focused on products more than brands – you have little to no control over how your brand is presented; leading to low brand recall and customer retention. 

You have complete control over how you present your brand, and your products. 

Higher competition 

There are always at least a hundred other sellers on the marketplace with the same or similar products. 

Your storefront is exclusive to your products alone. You’re not competing with anyone! 

Delayed payments  

Most marketplaces have a payment cycle of their own, which may or may not be suitable for your business.

As soon as a sale is made, the amount is credited to your connected account. 

Access to customer and order data 

You do not get access to customer data, and hence marketing efforts on all other platforms are from scratch. 

All customer and order data generated from interactions and sales, is owned by you. 

Customer experiences 

You have no control over the overall experience you offer to consumers – pre and post purchase. 

You are in complete control to offer a tailored and more personalized experience to every visitor. 

Additional reads: 

Online store vs Social media 

Parameter 

Social media 

Online store 

Control over customer data 

Social networks are great to reach a wider audience, but they are taking more control over the buying process and the data that gets shared with sellers. 

You can control and customize the buying process, and also own the data shared at all stages. 

Higher competition 

With millions of people posting content (businesses included), sellers struggle to get their products noticed. 

Your website is yours alone and no products get overshadowed by offers from others. 

Ad spends for customer acquisition 

To tackle high competition and get noticed, sellers are forced to invest more on ad campaigns, but they get low to no access to the data they collect through them. 

You can run targeted campaigns to drive traffic to the site, and retarget consumers with the data – which is cheaper than awareness ads. 

Consumer trust 

Studies have found that 95% of people don’t trust social media platforms for personal information, which makes them more hesitant to interact with brands. 

With HTTPs and other security measures in place and displayed, consumers prefer to even transact over the secure medium online stores offer. 

Continuous investment  

To reach consumers you have acquired through social media, you will continually need to use paid and organic tactics to reach them, and then sell to them. 

Once you have acquired a customer through your site, you can use other marketing tactics like SMS, WhatsApp and email to bring them back for more. 

The same holds true for shopping comparison search engines – you’ll continually have to battle high competition and pricing. In the long run, your business takes a hit in multifolds – your brand and product positioning, your profit margins, and your revenue. 

Benefits of having an online store  

  • More control over how your brand and products are presented 
  • Direct, personalized communication with your customers
  • Ability to build your own customer base (email list, phone list, social media audience, etc) 
  • Improved brand recall and recognition 
  • Improved customer loyalty and retention
  • Complete access to customer information (email, browsing/purchase history)
  • Better customer support and service
  • Optimized business decisions, operations, products and services 
  • Retain 100% of your sales revenue 
  • Resilience against copycat products 
  • Complete business autonomy (no rules to abide by) 

So the first piece to an effective multichannel sales strategy is setting up your online store. If you don’t have an online store in place, sign up on Shopify today.  

But if you do, it’s now time to choose the right sales channels to add to the mix to reach your audience. 

How to choose the right sales channel for ecommerce? 

Determining the right sales channel for your business is slightly more complicated than it seems. While it might seem like a good idea to activate them all at once and then remove those that don’t work, it might also result in higher spending of resources that are crucial for other aspects of your business growth. 

We recommend following a strategic approach to multichannel selling: 

1. Define your target market and ideal customer persona 

The first step is to take note of who you’re selling to. This includes defining the general target market demographics of where you want your brand to be known, and then narrowing it down to who out of that segment is more likely to buy from you. 

Additional reads: 

2. Identify your business model and value proposition 

The next step is to clearly define your business model, and what your value proposition is to this target market. At this stage, you need to know how you intend to generate revenue and how the behavior of online shoppers fits into the picture. For example, if you’re a subscription business, selling on online marketplaces may get difficult. 

It’s also important to pay attention to how you want your brand to be perceived in the market. For instance, some sales channels may be associated with ‘cheaper’ products and if you’re a luxury brand or a private label, it may not be the best suited for your reputation. 

Additional reads: 

3. Define your business goals 

Next, is to define what your business goals look like in the first three, six and twelve months – upto a time period you’d like to plan for. You need to define clear ecommerce metrics that you can use to see how successful a sales channel is for your business growth. 

Since each channel works differently, they add to your business goals in different ways. For example, online marketplaces are great to help you reach more people. On the other hand, your own website and social media selling helps you with brand awareness as well. 

Additional reads: 

4. Analyze the channel your audience is active on 

Out of the shortlisted channels as per your business model and goals, take a look at those that your target market is active on. It’s like creating a connection between your target audience and your sales channel using concrete data. 

For example, if you’re looking at selling to a younger audience, setting up Instagram as a sales channel can be beneficial. But if you’re selling to a more mature consumer, being present on online marketplaces may be more fruitful. 

A few ways to do analyze your audience activity include: 

5. Take note of your revenue model and cash flow

The next step is to look at your cash flow and revenue cycle. Remember, that listing on some channels may not get you ‘instant’ revenue – it may take a few days for the payment to reflect in your account. 

Similarly, setting up on some channels may add to your marketing spends. This may include setting up costs or having to run promotions on that channel to be seen – think about the ‘promoted’ products you see on popular online marketplaces. 

You need to choose a sales channel that is easy to set up and build on, while being able to run other ecommerce operations smoothly. 

Once you have decided on the sales channel, the next piece gets a bit complex – you need these sales channels to integrate with your online store to be able to manage customer and order data, and your inventory more efficiently. 

Managing multi channel sales is easy – Integrating your sales channels to your online store 

If you want to succeed at multi channel sales, you need to be able to:

  • Get a consolidated view of channel sales performance 
  • Be able to collect customer and order data on a centralized dashboard 
  • Have more control over active/ inactive sales channels 
  • Get control over the products and collections you list on different channels 
  • Monitor your overall store traffic, sales and revenue from different channels 
  • Manage inventory across channels efficiently 

And to be able to do all of the above, you need to be able to easily integrate your chosen sales channels with your online store. 

This is where leading brands choose Shopify as their ecommerce platform to set up an online store. 

Apart from your own online store, Shopify offers easy integrations with popular online sales channels including Facebook and Instagram that help you set up a shopfront on the platforms and Google that helps you list your products everywhere and run smart shopping ads. 

If you have an online store on Shopify, here’s how easily you can add and manage various sales channels from one dashboard: 

You can also get a step by step guide to setting up sales channels on your Shopify store here

Ready to tap into multichannel sales? 

It’s safe to say that with the changing consumer expectations and purchase behavior, online businesses will need to adapt quickly to be present where their ideal customer is. 

This is where the importance of having a multichannel sales strategy comes in and a platform like Shopify makes it much simpler to execute. 

By helping you set up an online storefront in just weeks, Shopify established a solid foundation for your multi channel sales strategy. The easy integrations with the popular sales channels and marketplaces, further make it simpler to get started with selling across multiple platforms, with complete control through one dashboard. 

Ready to experience a better way to sell on multiple channels? Sign up on Shopify today

If you have a Shopify store, make sure you’re not putting all eggs in one basket. Explore our sales channels apps to see how easy it is to get started with multi channel selling

People also asked 

What is an ecommerce sales channel?

Sales channels are physical and digital platforms that businesses can use to list their products/ services with an intent to reach a larger audience, piggybacking on the established user base of the chosen platforms. This includes owned online storefronts, social media platforms, online marketplaces and search engines. 

How to choose an ecommerce sales channel?

The channel you choose to sell over should be dependent on the products you sell, how you want to position your brand and who you sell to. The very first online sales channel a business should be setting up is their own website to be able to convey more information about their brand, products and value proposition. 

Do you need an online store for multichannel sales? 

In a highly competitive market, it is important to establish a platform that gives you complete control over your brand and the data you collect. Your website is the foundation of your multi channel sales strategy as it helps you do both. The sales channels you add should be treated as ‘additional’ places to promote your business, the primary one being your own website. 

What are the best sales channels for Shopify? 

Shopify integrates with popular social media sales channels like Facebook and Instagram, and search engines like Google easily. It also offers a number of sales channels apps that you can use to get started with multichannel selling. The best sales channel for your business may vary based on what you sell and your business goals. 

What are the different types of ecommerce channels?

Popular ecommerce sales channels include online storefronts (websites), social media platforms, search engines, online marketplaces and product/ price comparison websites or platforms. 

How to sell on Amazon? 

To sell on Amazon, you will need to create an Amazon seller account, await approvals from the retailer and then list your products on the platform. Before you set up your business on Amazon, we recommend setting up a website for your brand to have more control over the product descriptions and offers you want to share. This also aids the sales you make through Amazon, as consumers can visit your website to check for more information, deliverability and more; additionally giving you a chance to make the sale from your storefront itself. 

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